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Progressive Muscle Relaxation

A progressive muscle relaxation is one of many stress relaxation techniques that helps you cultivate your physical wellness . It:

  • Teaches you what tension feels like in your body
  • Trains your muscles to let go of stress
  • Strengthens your creative visualization
  • Relaxes you using the relaxation response

Generally, it takes more than a few tries to learn a progressive muscle relaxation. Be patient with yourself. In the beginning it may take up to 30 minutes. After you've learned the technique, it can be accomplished in 5 or 10 minutes depending upon you and your time.

It is called a progressive relaxation because you begin with your feet and progressively move up major muscle groups contracting and releasing your muscles. It is done slowly, within your own range of motion and comfort.

Stress relief techniques for pain and stress reduction
Let's shift. And reclaim your calm.

This progressive muscle relaxation helps you relax your body. It impacts your holistic health positively. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you begin this:

  • Sit or lie down with your legs uncrossed and feet flat on the floor (if you are sitting).
  • Be mindful of your spine. Your spine is a part of your nervous system. Your ability to relax and breathe fully is greatly affected by posture. Sit as erect as possible without strain and within your own body’s structural comfort.
  • When contracting and releasing muscular tension, you can also add the following if you like:
  • Say, "I release tension" or "I let go" as you release the tension in your muscles.
  • Pause and notice how you feel or what you sense after each release.
  • This progressive muscle relaxation works by tightening, then holding and then relaxing your muscles. When you hold, hold only for a few seconds.
  • Go at your own pace and work within your own range of motion and comfort.
  • Remember to breathe normally.

Stress relief techniques for pain and stress reduction
Let's shift. And reclaim your calm.

A Progressive Muscle Relaxation:

  1. Pre-assessment: Assess how your body feels on a 0 to 10 scale
    0 means you are relaxed. 10 means you aren't relaxed - you're stressed.

  2. With your right foot, curl your toes tightly. Hold a few seconds. Release your toes. Tell your foot to relax and let go.
  3. Lift your right leg. Point your toes; contract the muscles in your thigh and whole leg. Tighten them. Hold a few seconds. Release your muscles. Tell them to relax and let go.

  4. Pause and compare your right leg with your left leg. What do you notice, sense or feel?

  5. Now repeat the same thing on your left side: With your left foot, curl your toes tightly. Hold a few seconds. Release your toes. Tell your foot to relax and let go.

  6. Lift your left leg. Point your toes; contract the muscles in your thigh and whole leg. Tighten them. Hold a few seconds. Release your muscles. Tell them to relax and let go.

  7. Pause and compare your right leg with your left leg. What do you notice, sense or feel?

  8. Move to your buttocks. Squeeze your buttocks. Hold. Release. Tell your buttocks to relax and let go.

  9. Move to your belly. Contract your belly muscles. Bend over slightly as you squeeze your belly and hold. Release. Tell your belly to relax and let go.

  10. Sitting comfortably straight, pause and notice.

  11. Shift now to your hands: Focus on your right hand. Make your hand into a fist. Clench it tight and hold. Release. Tell your hand to relax and let go.

  12. Move to your right arm. Clench and tighten your right fist and your entire right arm. You can bend your arm if you like. Hold and then release. Tell your arm to relax and let go.

  13. Pause and compare your right arm with your left arm. What do you notice, sense or feel?

  14. Focus on your left hand next. Make your hand into a fist. Clench it tight and hold. Release. Tell your hand to relax and let go.

  15. Move to your left arm. Clench and tighten your left fist and your entire left arm. You can bend your arm if you like. Hold and then release. Tell your arm to relax and let go.

  16. Now focus on your both arms. As you do this you can squeeze the sides of your chest. Hold. Release. Tell your arms to relax and let go.

  17. Your shoulders are next. With your right shoulder, bring it up, squeeze and hold. Release. Tell your shoulder to relax and let go.

  18. Repeat this with your left shoulder. Bring it up, squeeze and hold. Release. Tell your shoulder to relax and let go.

  19. Now both shoulders. Shrug your shoulders. Lift your shoulders up, squeezing and holding. Release. Tell your shoulder to relax and let go.

  20. Now your face. Pinch your whole face towards your nose. Hold. Release. Tell you face to relax and let go.

  21. Now your scalp. Take your hands and slide them into your hair. Gently grab your hair from the roots, the part of your hair closest to your skull. Slightly lift up. Hold. Release. Tell your scalp to relax and let go.

  22. Post-assessment: Assess yourself again as in step 1.
    What did you notice in your pre-assessment and post-assessment?

  23. Repeat this stress relaxation technique as needed.

Progressive muscle relaxation is one of many stress relaxation techniques that help you cultivate your physical wellness.

What is physical wellness and well being? It's the feeling of a get-up-and-go and a spring-in-your step. Physical wellbeing is the full body experience of vitality that happens as you move into greater states of physical wellness.

Take care of you and choose stress relief techniques that work for you.

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