Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a relaxation technique used to alleviate stress, reduce anxiety, and induce a state of calmness by systematically tensing and then relaxing various muscle groups in the body. It is based on the idea that physical relaxation can lead to mental relaxation, and it's a widely practiced method for achieving a sense of tranquility.
Here's how to practice progressive muscle relaxation:
1. Find a quiet and comfortable space: sit or lie down in a position that allows your body to fully relax.
2. Start with deep breathing: take a few deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth, to help you relax and focus.
3. Tense and relax muscle groups: begin with your feet and work your way up, tensing each muscle group for about 5-10 seconds, then releasing the tension and noticing the sensation of relaxation.
Some common muscle groups to focus on include:
• Feet and toes
• Calves and shins
• Thighs and buttocks
• Abdomen and lower back
• Chest and upper back
• Shoulders and neck
• Arms and hands
• Face and jaw
4. Maintain a relaxed state: After going through all the muscle groups, take a few moments to enjoy the overall feeling of relaxation in your body.
5. Practice regularly: Aim to practice progressive muscle relaxation for about 10-20 minutes each day or whenever you feel stressed or anxious.
With regular practice, you can learn to recognise the difference between tense and relaxed muscles, allowing you to cue relaxation at the first sign of muscle tension accompanying feelings of anxiety.
By incorporating progressive muscle relaxation into your daily routine, you can lower your overall tension and stress levels, reduce physical problems such as stomach aches and headaches, and improve your sleep.
This technique can be done on your own or with the aid of a free audio download or inexpensive smartphone app.