Relaxation is probably one of the most helpful things you can learn; not only if you are ill with depression, but also if you are well. I say “learn”, because it is not easy to relax properly. It is ironically, “quite hard work” And it is something that you must learn how to do. It is not a case of just sitting down quietly and watching TV, or reading a book, or lying down and taking a nap.
Proper relaxation, not only relaxes your mind and all the muscles in your body, it slows your entire physiology down, reducing your blood pressure, decreasing your heart rate and slowing down your cell reproduction rate. It also reduces the amount of stress hormones and increases the amount of feel-good hormones circulating in your body and brain.
It has been shown that when you are in a deeply relaxed state, the brainwaves emitted from your brain are of the alpha type. Also, your skin becomes less electrically conductive, as the body reduces its sweat secretions. It is therefore possible to actually measure the depth of your relaxation state using special instrumentation called bio-feedback instruments. In fact, some hypnotherapists actually do this, so they can tell when you will be most receptive to their suggestions.
It is worth mentioning at this point that hypnosis is just a deep state of relaxation. There is no difference between being in a state of deep relaxation and being in a “hypnotic trance”, or “being under”. It is one and the same thing. It’s just that the stage entertainers prefer to use the term “hypnotic trance” because it sounds more mystical! When referring to this state, I will coin a new term called DSR (Deep State of Relaxation), because this is just what it is. It isn’t an involuntary trance and there is nothing mystical about it whatsoever.
It is highly beneficial to be able to put yourself in a state of deep relaxation just to give your mind and body a rest from its trials and tribulations. I would recommend you do this as often as you find time for. Many years ago, when I was severely ill, I spent a lot of time in this deeply relaxed state because for a while, it was the only escape I managed to get from the exaggerated worries caused by my illness.
Later you will see that you can also use this state to actually give yourself positive suggestions (self-hypnosis), or a hypnotherapist can use this state to help you with some positive suggestions (hypnotherapy).