Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a relaxation method that focuses on decreasing muscle tension. The technique of PMR prompts you to focus on one muscle group at a time and promotes relaxation. The process of tensing, holding and releasing muscle groups throughout your body can work to decrease blood pressure, heart rate and overall stress. Keeping focus can also help reduce obsessive or negative thoughts by providing a positive distraction. Individuals struggling with anxiety and sleep can benefit benefit from introducing progressive muscle relaxation into their nightly routine. This can also be helpful for those who are better able to decrease anxiety with a physical stimulus.
Interested in trying progressive muscle relaxation but unsure how to get started? Use this quick guide:
⚪️ Find a quiet place and get comfortable. While you can sit for progressive muscle relaxation, you may find more benefit from laying flat.
⚪️ Take slow, even breaths. Note your stomach rising as you inhale and falling at exhale
⚪️ Focus attention to one end of your body, such as your forehead
⚪️ Squeeze the muscles in that area alone for 15 seconds. Slowly release. Notice the sensation to the area as your muscles relax.
⚪️ Move down your body, tensing and releasing each muscle group until you reach your toes. ⚪️Repeat an individual muscle group or the entire body as needed.
While anyone can try progressive muscle relaxation, consider utilizing it first in a psychotherapy setting if a history of trauma or other mental health concern (past or current) is present and can be triggered. For individuals wishing to simply promote mindfulness and increase relaxation, resources are available and videos can be accessed online. You can also always consider work with an experienced coach who can prompt you through the process. PMR is an excellent addition to your coping skills and relaxation techniques.