How Does Autogenic Training Work?

how-does-autogenic-training-workAutogenic training uses simple mental exercises, which are practiced in a passive mental state. Autogenic training, which uses suggestive phrases directed at certain parts of the body, is different from meditation techniques, which use mantras repeated silently. For instance, when we practice autogenic training the suggestion of heaviness in the limbs together with passive concentration, brings about deep relaxation. The phrase in this case is: "My arms and legs are heavy."

 

 

Relaxation response

 

The mechanism behind autogenic training and other relaxation techniques is a relaxation response, which is the opposite of a stress response. A relaxation response brings us back to equilibrium from a stressful day and also has recuperative effects. It suppresses our sympathetic nervous system and engages our parasympathetic nervous system, which reduces stress related hormones and prepares us to "rest and digest".

Over time, the regular elicitation of a relaxation response changes our susceptibility to stress, and we are able to manage more stress for longer periods of time. Of course no one is immune to stress, but people who regularly practice relaxation techniques are calmer and more immune to stressors. In the long run, psychologically lower stress intuitively brings about positive changes. Who has not seen a "spiritual" person who is regarded as calm and assertive?

Positive effects of relaxation (autogenic training)

Psychological effects:

  • Decreasing stress, anxiety, anxiety attacks, and depression
  • Decreasing the fear of death
  • Increasing the joy of living
  • Increasing positive emotions and attitudes towards life
  • Increasing self-confidence

Cognitive effects:

  • Increasing concentration and strengthening the mind
  • Increasing memory

 

Autogenic training works on the long run

positive-effects-of-relaxationAutogenic training requires a long term commitment. Practitioners recognize their progress gradually during the course and at the end of the 9 week course they look back and only then see the progress they have made. After several months of practice we can look back and realize how stressful our lives were before. Autogenic training is a tool for increasing our quality of life, and is also an activity that we devote only to ourselves.

We should look at autogenic training as an investment. Try to imagine how much a natural pill would cost if it lowered your blood pressure, increased confidence, boosted the immune system, increased positive emotions, memory, concentration, decreased anxiety, lowered stress, gave you energy, slowed the ageing process - and all without any noticeable side effects. Would you con-sider taking that pill? And how much would a lifetime supply of this utopian pill cost? Fortunately it already exists and it is not a pill - it is a relaxation technique called autogenic training!