Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercises can help you to relax when you are feeling anxious or nervous. It also helps to relieve headaches and improves sleep. It is a two-step progress. First, you tense a particular part of the body and secondly, you release the tension and observe how the muscles feel when they are relaxed. Learning how to tense your muscles, not only lets you know what relaxation feels like but it also lets you recognize when you are starting to get tense throughout your day. Most importantly, progressive muscle relaxation is a great exercise to relieve anxiety and stress.
Preparation for Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise
Try to set aside some quiet time to complete this exercise without any disturbance. You can start with 20 minutes twice a day. The more you do this exercise the better you will get at it. The progressive muscle relaxation exercises should be done when you are not stressed so that you will know how to do it and be prepared for when you are. Feel free to add some music to help make it an even more relaxing experience. You can also use progressive muscle relaxation music to guide you through this exercise.
For this exercise, use can wear loose clothing and remove your shoes. You can lay down but it is preferable to be sitting in a recliner, and begin to take deep breaths. Pick a specific part of your body that you would like to apply muscle tension. You can choose to start from your head and work your way down to the other parts of your body, or you can begin from your feet moving upward.
How to use Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise
- Take a deep breath through your nose and begin with your forehead, by raising your eyebrows as far as you can go. Hold it tight for about 10 seconds, until you feel the tension in the muscle and relax allow the tightness to release the tensed muscles. Observe how you are feeling at this movement. More relaxed and loose. Remember to stay focused on the targeted muscle group, but be careful not to hurt yourself.
- Now pick another muscle group and repeat the process. Take a deep breath, hold your eyes tightly closed for 10 seconds then exhale and release the tense muscle.
- Next, take a deep breath, then open your mouth wide to stretch the hinges of your mouth. Hold and Release after 10 seconds.
- Proceed with the neck and shoulders as you raise the shoulders up and hold for 10 seconds then exhale and relax.
- Continue to your chest and tighten this area by holding your breath for 10 seconds and release. Note how you feeling.
- Then you take your entire right and left arm by drawing your forearm towards your shoulder as if you were making a muscle and clench your fist. Tighten and hold for 10-second and release.
- The stomach is next and you suck in your stomach and hold for 10 seconds and again release and feel relaxed.
- Keep working down to buttocks by pulling the buttocks together and hold tight for 10 seconds, then relax and release.
- Follow by tightening your thigh muscles and then tighten your calf muscles by pulling your toes towards you. Again hold for 10 seconds and relax.
- Last but not least, curl your toes and hold them for 10 seconds then release and relax. Don’t forget to breathe while doing this!
The goal is to continue this process until you have completed each muscle group and relaxed your entire body. As you relax your body you relieve stress and anxiety.
Remember to practice progressive muscle relaxation often, even when you are not feeling anxious or stressed. The more you do this exercise the more it will become a part of your daily routine. It will become a natural process in your everyday life to help you manage stress and anxiety.