Autogenic training

Many people are familiar with autogenic training. In today’s society, time pressure,  stress  and constant hectic pace are increasingly the cause of mental and physical illnesses. Dizzinessburnout  or  depression  are examples of possible consequences of this lifestyle. That’s why it’s all the more important to take regular breaks and really relax. The term autogenic training appears again and again in this context. But what exactly is behind it?

What is autogenic training?

Autogenic training is a  relaxation  method based on autosuggestion. The Berlin psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz developed it further from hypnosis and published it for the first time in 1932 in the book “Das autogenous training”. Autogenic training has many supporters today and its effectiveness has been proven in many studies.

How does autogenic training work?

Autogenic training uses formulaic idioms that help the subconscious to believe in something. This process is called  autosuggestion  – it sounds strange, but it works.

The prerequisite is a calm posture in which the muscles can relax completely. The exercises, which consist of short, formulaic ideas, must be mentally repeated several times by the practitioner. The “simple” version of autogenic training consists of seven exercises that are usually carried out one after the other.

Autogenic training: benefits and application

Autogenic training can lead to rapid relaxation through self-suggestion in stressful situations. It is also used for nervousness,  sleep disorders  and psychosomatic complaints such as  headaches , indigestion or  high blood pressure  . However, it should be checked beforehand by a doctor that there is no serious physical cause for the symptoms.

Autogenic Training: Exercises

The individual components of the training are the following seven exercises:

  1. The rest exercise has an introductory function  .  It is used for calming and to strengthen the concentration. Close your eyes and imagine the words “I’m calm, nothing can disturb me”.
  2. The  heavy exercise  can trigger a feeling of heaviness in the desired parts of the body after extensive training. Say to yourself “The arms and legs are very heavy.”
  3. The  heat exercise  promotes blood circulation in the limbs. Imagine “The arms and legs are warm”.
  4. The  breathing exercise  increases relaxation through targeted breathing techniques. Say to yourself “My breath is flowing calmly and evenly”. However, you should not deliberately breathe in and out longer. Let your breath flow according to the rhythm of your body and it will calm down all by itself.
  5. The  heart exercise  consists of concentrating on the heartbeat. Imagine the phrase “My heart is beating calmly and regularly.” Under no circumstances should you imagine “My heart is beating slowly”. In exceptional cases, this can lead to cardiac arrhythmias.
  6. The  solar plexus exercise  focuses on the center of the abdomen. Say to yourself “My body is pouring warm”.
  7. The  head exercise  helps to stay awake and to improve concentration. Say to yourself “The head is clear, the forehead is cool.”

Finally, say to yourself emphatically, “Arms tight! Take a deep breath! Open your eyes!” A stretch concludes the practice phase. The  awakening phase  is of the highest priority in order not to remain in the trance-like state.

Instructions and tips for autogenic training

If you would like to try autogenic training yourself, you should consider the following tips:

  • Learning each exercise usually takes a few weeks. It is advisable to join a group and practice together.
  • Especially as a beginner, you should initially only do one of the exercises and subdivide it. For example, with the weight exercise, you should only focus on the weight of the right arm. If you can do this after a few days, include your left arm and then your legs in the exercise. If you notice noticeable success, add one aspect of the following exercise to the training phase.
  • The individual sentences of the respective exercise are repeated three to six times mentally.
  • In order to achieve rapid training success, the exercises should be carried out daily for at least five minutes

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