Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation is a deep relaxation technique. It is based upon the simple practice of tensing, or tightening, one muscle group at a time followed by a relaxation phase with release of the tension, leading to a greater state of relaxation. We hold a lot of stress and tension in our bodies, so learning how to gently relax each muscle group can be a way of building greater body awareness while also letting go of tension from the body. 

Progressive muscle relaxation can be learned by nearly anyone and requires only 10 minutes to 20 minutes per day to practice. You can practice this technique seated or lying down, and you should try to practice with comfortable clothing on, and in a quiet place free of all distractions. It can also be practised in bed before we go to sleep and can aid us in falling off to sleep. 

Basically this is how it works:

 

While inhaling, contract or hold tight one muscle group (for example your calves) for 5 seconds to 10 seconds, then exhale and suddenly release the tension in that muscle group and notice the sensation of what it feels like to release the tension.

 

Give yourself 10 seconds to 20 seconds to relax, and then move on to the next muscle group (for example your thighs).

 

While releasing the tension, try to focus on the changes you feel when the muscle group is relaxed. Imagery may be helpful in conjunction with the release of tension, such as imagining that stressful feelings are flowing out of your body as you relax each muscle group.

 

Gradually work your way up the body contracting and relaxing muscle groups all the way up to the face.

Below are links with more detailed instruction:

https://www.anxietycanada.com/sites/default/files/MuscleRelaxation.pdf

https://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/Progressive_Muscle_Relaxation.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nZEdqcGVzo

Below are some audios you can play guiding you in progressive muscle relaxation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive Muscle Relaxation

© 2020 by Theresa Cawley