Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Friday, June 26, 2015
Have you ever had an aching back or pain in your neck when you were anxious or stressed?
When you have anxiety or stress in your life, one of the ways your body responds is with muscle tension. Progressive muscle relaxation is a method that helps relieve that tension.
In progressive muscle relaxation, you tense a group of muscles as you breathe in, and you relax them as you breathe out. You work on your muscle groups in a certain order.
If you have trouble falling asleep, this method may also help with your sleep problems.
A few minutes of progressive relaxation can renew your personal energy on a stressful day. In progressive relaxation, the individual sits in a quiet, comfortable position and starts to breathe deeply and slowly. The mind is focused on a place that brings relaxation and happiness, maybe for you it is a mountain top or favorite vacation spot.
The mind seeks to enter into this place with all of the senses: touching, smelling and hearing with the imagination as the deep breathing continues. While remaining in the imaginary restful environment, the focus then turns to tightening and then relaxing muscle groups. Begin with the hands. Then the arms, shoulders, neck, jaw, eyes, abdomen, back, legs, and feet in that order. Between each muscle group, there should be a pause to review and ensure that the other muscles are continuing to be relaxed. The next muscle group can then receive the focus until all groups have been relaxed.
Once the physical and mental relaxation has been achieved it should be enjoyed for several minutes while assuring that the muscles stay relaxed. Progressive relaxation has been shown to be a great stress reliever.41