PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE RELAXATION
When your body is physically relaxed, you cannot feel anxious. 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.
Progressive relaxation yields a variety of benefits, including the development of a feeling of well-being, lowered blood pressure, decreased muscle tension, thereby reducing the body's need for oxygen and reducing fatigue and anxiety.
This method is practiced as follows:
Find a calm, quiet place where you will not be interrupted for five to ten minutes. Wear comfy clothes. You can do this exercise sitting in a chair or lying down; just be careful you do not fall asleep.
1. You begin at your feet and, bit by bit, advance towards your head, breathing, tensing, breathing, and relaxing all the muscles on your way up.
2. While breathing in, tense the group of muscles you are targeting. Maintain and feel the tension for eight seconds. After eight seconds, breathe out and relax that muscle group. Feel a calming sensation enveloping those muscles.
3. Start with the right foot and move up the right leg, utilizing breathing, tensing, and releasing of the muscle group. Now, move on to the left foot, left leg, right hand, right forearm, left hand, and left forearm, tensing and relaxing the muscle groups with proper breathing pattern. Repeat this same ‘breathe, tense, breathe, and relax method with abdomen, chest, then neck and shoulders. Finally, breathe, tense, breathe, and relax your facial muscles and, in the end, your mind.
4. Take a couple of deep cleansing breaths and feel the relaxation that crosses your whole body.
5. Slowly stand up.
With some practice, PMR will give you a rich sensation of relaxation; then, you can practice it any time you experience overwhelming stress and get quick relaxation.