If you find you have trouble relaxing, high levels of stress, anxiety, insomnia or chronic pain then we suggest giving progressive muscle relaxation a try! Progressive muscle relaxation is a deep relaxation technique that has been effectively used to control many of these symptoms. It is a mind-body technique that involves slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group in the body. Read on to learn a little more!
“Typically used to reduce stress, progressive muscle relaxation is said to increase your awareness of the sensations associated with tension (and, in turn, help you identify and deal with the physical effects of everyday stress).”
Here is how it works:
1. While inhaling, contract one muscle group (for example your upper thighs) for 5 seconds to 10 seconds, then exhale and suddenly release the tension in that muscle group.
2. Give yourself 10 seconds to 20 seconds to relax, and then move on to the next muscle group (for example your buttocks).
3. While releasing the tension, try to focus on the changes you feel when the muscle group is relaxed. Imagery may be helpful in conjunction with the release of tension, such as imagining that stressful feelings are flowing out of your body as you relax each muscle group.
4. Gradually work your way up the body contracting and relaxing muscle groups.
*it is suggested that you start with the lower extremities and end with the face, abdomen and chest.