In this session, you will learn why it is so important to make time and do things to relax as it helps reduce negative thoughts and feelings.

What are the objectives of session 3?

  • To learn why it is important to relax
  • To remind you how negative thoughts can cause stress
  • To introduce the muscle tense and relax exercise
  • To explain how physical exercise can help you relax
  • To describe the controlled breathing exercise
  • To help you develop a calm place
  • To identify activities that you enjoy and relax you

Why is it important to relax?

Almost all the time, negative thoughts and “hot” feelings such as being sad, angry, or anxious, come from being tense and stressed. When you are worried or nervous, one is more likely to see the negative things and our bodies follow by trying to prepare for something that may never happen. As a result, we may have heart palpitations, our hands are sweaty, our faces become red, and we have trouble calming down and thinking rationally.

In the next session, we learn about automatic negative thoughts, but when we are stressed, it is also the time when negative thoughts stream through our heads, almost like a bad video that we cannot stop. These disturbing images and thoughts make us feel bad too. We may feel that nobody likes us, we never do the right thing, and that something bad will happen to us or those people we love. We may feel scared, lonely, or angry.

When we think about it, there is often no good reason for us to think and feel these things. Relaxing gives us the time to sit quietly and work out that these thoughts and feelings are not true or logical and to leave them behind. Or, doing relaxing activities take our mind off these unhelpful thoughts and feelings and help us feel more confident about ourselves.

There are many different ways to learn to relax. You can do quick relaxation exercises and controlled breathing to help you relax when you suddenly become tense or angry. You can imagine pictures and scenes that make you feel calm, or you can do physical exercise and take part in other relaxing activities such as doing a hobby or chatting with friends. You will find that you may find different methods useful at different times. So, it is important to try these methods to find what works for you.