HELP FOR STRESS DISORDERS

By Eleanor Eggers, Ph.D., LP, BCB, (Senior Fellow)


                 Lesson 4

The first two formulas, dealing with heaviness and warmth, are the most important of all the formulas.  It usually takes between four and eight weeks to establish both heaviness and warmth. When you do experience them, you will find that you are in an Autogenic State, a state of deep relaxation, sometimes so deep that it feels like a dream-like state.  You will probably find it very pleasant and enjoyable.  


If you have cold hands at the beginning, it may take longer to feel warmth in your hands.  It is all right for you to move on to the next formula after eight weeks of saying the heaviness and warmth formulas even if your hands still feel cold.  Your hands will gradually warm up while saying all the formulas.  You will eventually be able to feel the warmth as soon as you say the warmth formula.


The other four basic formulas are also important, but they serve mainly to deepen the state of relaxation which you have already achieved.  They state conditions which automatically occur when you become deeply relaxed and enter the autogenic state.  As we add the other formulas, you will develop the ability to perceive and enhance the sensation which each one deals with.


Lesson 4 deals with focusing on the heartbeat.  Most people find it relaxing and reassuring to focus on feeling their hearts beating calmly and regularly.  However, some people prefer not to pay attention to the beating of their hearts.  Therefore, this formula is optional.  If you choose not to do it, you may certainly skip it without diminishing the effectiveness of doing Autogenic Training.


Please begin by reviewing the information given under “Basic Information” and in Lesson 1.


Lie down on your bed or recliner chair and focus your attention in a very passive way on your arms and legs. Say to yourself (think) once:                     

  • My arms and legs are heavy and warm. 
  • I am completely calm.           


Switch your focus of attention to your heart and say to yourself over and over slowly for about a minute:                     

  • My heartbeat is calm and regular.           


Then say to yourself several times:                     

  • I am completely calm.


Now that you have induced an autogenic state, you do not need to practice this exercise three times.  You may stop saying the formulas and just enjoy staying in this state of deep relaxation for the remainder of the twenty minutes.  Follow the directions given in Lesson 1 on how to maintain a completely passive state.  


After you have shifted to the autogenic state, it usually becomes very difficult to remember what you are supposed to be thinking or saying to yourself.  If, for this reason, it takes a long time to get through the formulas, that is all right.  


What you must not do is say any particular formula over and over for more than a minute in order to produce a particular response.  Once you have felt the desired sensation, it is perfectly all right to return to the relevant  part of the body to dwell on that sensation.  Then you can repeat the formula to yourself as many times as you like.


At the end of the twenty minutes be sure to cancel by making two fists, bending and tensing both arms, taking a deep breath, and then opening your eyes.