Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is an anxiety-reduction technique first introduced by American physician Edmund Jacobson in the 1930s. The technique involves alternating tension and relaxation in all of the body’s major muscle groups.
This can be performed more or less anywhere but be sure to find somewhere quiet and set aside time to focus. Practicing this technique will give you a greater sense of control over your body’s anxiety response.
For Your Consideration
– Thoroughly read all instructions before commencing any technique or exercise.
– Understand any potential contraindications, problems or side effects that may be highlighted.
– Make an informed decision based on your past and current physical, emotional and mental state about the appropriateness of the technique, exercise or activity.
– If you have any concerns about the technique, exercise or activity then do not attempt.
Avoid this method if you have any of the following:
– heart disease
– a serious medical concern
The Technique – Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Find a quiet place free from distractions. Lie on the floor or recline in a chair, loosen any tight clothing, and remove glasses or contacts. Rest your hands in your lap or on the arms of the chair. Take a few slow even breaths.
Now, focus your attention on the following areas, being careful to leave the rest of your body relaxed.
Squeeze the muscles in your forehead, holding for 15 seconds. Feel the muscles becoming tighter and tenser. Then, slowly release the tension in your forehead while counting for 30 seconds. Notice the difference in how your muscles feel as you relax. Continue to release the tension until your forehead feels completely relaxed. Breathe slowly and evenly.
Tense the muscles in your jaw, holding for 15 seconds. Then release the tension slowly while counting for 30 seconds. Notice the feeling of relaxation and continue to breathe slowly and evenly.
Neck and Shoulders
Increase tension in your neck and shoulders by raising your shoulders up toward your ears and hold for 15 seconds. Slowly release the tension as you count for 30 seconds. Notice the tension melting away.
Arms and Hands
Slowly draw both hands into fists. Pull your fists into your chest and hold for 15 seconds, squeezing as tight as you can. Then slowly release while you count for 30 seconds. Notice the feeling of relaxation.
Slowly increase tension in your buttocks over 15 seconds. Then, slowly release the tension over 30 seconds. Notice the tension melting away. Continue to breathe slowly and evenly.
Slowly increase the tension in your quadriceps and calves over 15 seconds. Squeeze the muscles as hard as you can. Then gently release the tension over 30 seconds. Notice the tension melting away and the feeling of relaxation that is left.
Slowly increase the tension in your feet and toes. Tighten the muscles as much as you can. Then slowly release the tension while you count for 30 seconds. Notice all the tension melting away. Continue breathing slowly and evenly.
Focus On The Breath
Enjoy the feeling of relaxation sweeping through your body. Continue to breathe slowly and evenly.