How to do a Progressive Muscle Relaxation Step by Step
People respond differently to various activities. Some feel pleasant or refreshed, and others feel calm and relaxed after an activity like this one. Some people notice little change the first time, but with practice, their control increases – as well as the benefits. If you practice this activity, your relaxation should increase, and your anxiety will decrease.
Step 1. Assume a comfortable position. You may lie down; loosen any tight clothing, take your glasses off if you’re wearing some, and close your eyes.
Step 2. Assume a passive attitude. Focus on yourself and on achieving relaxation in specific body muscles.
Step 3. Tense and relax each muscle group as follows:
- Forehead – Wrinkle your forehead, try to make your eyebrows touch your hairline for five seconds. Then relax those muscles.
- Eyes and nose – Close your eyes as tightly as you can for five seconds. Then relax those muscles.
- Lips, cheeks and jaw – Draw the centers of your mouth back and grimace for five seconds. Then relax those muscles. Feel the warmth and calmness in your face.
- Hands – Extend your arms in front of you. Clench your fists tightly for five seconds. Then Relax. Feel the warmth and calmness in your hands.
- Forearms – Extend your arms out against an invisible wall and push forward with your hands for five seconds. Then Relax.
- Upper arms – Bend your elbows. Tense your biceps for five seconds. Relax. Feel the tension leave your arms.
- Shoulders – Shrug your shoulders up to your ears for five seconds. Relax.
- Back – Arch your back off the floor for five seconds. Relax. Feel the anxiety and tension disappearing.
- Stomach – Tighten your stomach muscles for five seconds. Relax.
- Hips and buttocks – Tighten your hip and buttock muscles for five seconds. Relax.
- Thighs – Tighten your thigh muscles by pressing your legs together as tightly as you can for five seconds. Relax.
- Feet – Bend your ankles toward your body as far as you can for five seconds. Relax.
- Toes – Curl your toes as tightly as you can for five seconds. Relax.
Focus on any muscles which may still be tense. If any muscle remains tense, tighten and relax that specific muscle three or four times.
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It’s similar to a progressive muscle relaxation although I think it’s a little easier since it’s all done in your mind. You don’t have to tense and release anything. Some people prefer that to the tense/release practice.
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