Progressive Muscular Relaxation

Progressive Muscular Relaxation was “discovered” in the early 1900’s by an American doctor.  He saw that by consciously releasing tension from the muscular system, anxiety and stress were reduced.  That’s a fancy way of saying “Relaxing your muscles, relaxes you”!  Sign me up!  You can relax your muscles by getting a massage, sitting in a hot tub, or even taking a hot bath.  But you can also achieve muscle relaxation with PMR – and it doesn’t cost you a dime!

Steps

  1. Sit in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor and your shoes off, eyes closed.
  2. Begin and end each stretch with a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.
    1. Start with your feet – focus all of your attention on your feet – don’t think about anything else, just your feet. Try to see them in your mind.  Notice how they feel.
    2. Stretch your feet so that your toes are on the floor and your heels are reaching for the sky. Really stretch.
    3. Hold that.
    4. Now go the opposite direction, push your heels into the floor and reach your toes to the sky.
    5. Hold that
    6. Release your feet back down to the ground.
    7. Take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.
    8. Feel your feet relax.
  3. Move to your calves
    1. Take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth
    2. Focus all of your attention on your calves.  Notice how they feel.
    3. Lift your legs up and point your toes away from you for 3 seconds and then flex the foot back so the toes are pointing towards you. Really feel the stretch.
    4. Hold it for 3 seconds. Release – feel your legs relax
    5. Take a deep breath
  4. Take your awareness to your buttocks.
    1. Take a deep breath and focus your attention to your buttocks
    2. Squeeze it as tight as you can. You should feel yourself lift up.
    3. Hold for 3 – 6 seconds
    4. Relax back down
    5. Take a deep breath
  5. Feel your whole body relaxed from the waist down.
  6. Move your awareness to your stomach, don’t think of anything other than your stomach.
    1. Pull your stomach in so your belly button tries to touch your spine.
    2. Hold that for 3 – 6 seconds
    3. Release and feel the tension leave your stomach
  7. Move your awareness to your arms
    1. Reach your arms out so your fingers are spread apart and reaching forward. Stretch……   hold it
    2. Release your arms and feel the tension leave.
  8. Now move to your hands.
    1. Tighten your hands into a fist. Squeeze and hold
    2. Release
  9. Move your awareness up to your shoulder blades.
    1. Pull them together in the front and stretch and then try to touch them together behind you.
    2. Stretch and hold
    3. Release
  10. Move your awareness to your neck.
    1. Stretch your neck back and hold
    2. Stretch your neck forward and hold
    3. Release
  11. Move your awareness to your face
    1. Close your eyes even tighter.
    2. Squeeze them so tight you forehead wrinkles up.
    3. Hold
    4. Release
  12. Feel all of the tension drain from your body
    1. Take 3 deep relaxing breathes. In through the nose…… out through the mouth

 

This is a great exercise to do during your workday.  Take the time to relax your body throughout your day.