A progressive muscle relaxation exercise is used to help a person manage their stress. It is also a great exercise when you are experiencing anxiety and are needing some relief.
The body responds to stress and anxiety with muscle tension. This muscle tension causes us pain and discomfort. Today I want to share with you one stress management technique that will help you to relax. Progressive muscle relaxation reduces our muscle tension and also helps with general mental anxiety.
Instructions for Relaxation Exercise
It is important that you get yourself in a comfortable position. For this exercise you can lie down – loosen any tight clothing and put a pillow under your head or knees. Alternatively you can sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, legs uncrossed and hands resting comfortably at your side or on your lap.
Ensure that you won’t be disturbed and turn off your phone.
Take a deep breath and tense each muscle group (hard but not to the point of cramping) for 5 to 10 seconds, then exhale suddenly and completely relax the muscle group (do not relax it gradually). Give yourself 10 to 20 seconds to relax before moving to the next muscle group.
Before you begin, take a deep breath through the nose – filling lungs completely and holding for a moment. Release through your mouth until you are out of breath. Do this three times.
Clench them – 5-10 seconds – relax. Do this twice.
Wrists and Forearms
Extend them and bend your hands back at the wrist – hold 5 – 10 seconds – relax.
Biceps and Upper Arms
Clench your hands into fists, bend your arms at the elbows, and flex your biceps. Hold 5-10 seconds and then relax. Do this twice.
Extend your arms up towards the ceiling – push as if there were an imaginary wall there. — hold 5-10 seconds and relax. Do this twice.
Shrug them up towards your ears. Hold 5 – 10 seconds and relax. Do this three times.
Wrinkle it into a deep frown. Hold 5 – 10 seconds and then relax.
Around the Eyes and Bridge of the Nose
Close your eyes as tightly as possible. Hold 5 – 10 seconds and then relax. (Make sure you remove contact lenses before beginning the exercise)
Raise your eyebrows as high as you can – hold 5 – 10 seconds and then relax. Do this 3 times.
Cheeks and Jaw
Smile as widely as you can – hold 5 – 10 seconds and then relax. Do this twice.
Around the Mouth
Press your lips together tightly – hold 5 – 10 seconds and then relax. (Check your facial area for tension).
Back of the Neck
Gently stretch your head back – hold 5 – 10 seconds and then relax. Do this twice.
Front of the Neck
Touch your chin to your chest – hold 5 – 10 seconds and then relax. Do this twice. (Check your neck and head for tension).
Take a deep breath through your nose and hold it for 3 seconds, then exhale through your mouth. Do this twice.
Arch your back backwards – hold 5 – 10 seconds and then relax. Do this twice.
Suck it into a tight knot – hold 5 – 10 seconds and then relax. Do this twice. (Check your chest and stomach for tension).
Hips and Buttocks
Press the buttocks together tightly – hold 5 – 10 seconds and then relax. Do this twice.
Clench them together as tight as you can – hold 5 – 10 seconds and then relax. Do this twice.
Raise each foot and point and curl it down – hold 5 – 10 seconds and then relax. Do this twice.
Tense your right calf for 5 – 10 seconds and then relax. Tense your left calf for 5 – 10 seconds and then relax. Do this twice.
Squeeze (tighten) your right foot for 5 – 10 seconds and then relax. Squeeze (tighten) your left foot for 5 – 10 seconds and then relax. Do this twice.
Finish this relaxation exercise by taking a deep breath through the nose – filling lungs completely and holding for a moment. Release through your mouth until you are out of breath. Do this three times.
Keep Pressing Forward
Doing this progressive muscle relaxation exercise once can be a start of helping you to relax. To experience long term benefits it is best to engage in this activity several times a week. May I even suggest making this a daily self-care practice? It doesn’t take a lot of time and can even be done prior to going to sleep. You might even experience more restful sleep.
Mental health is an important aspect of our physical health and our over all wellbeing. In addition to this relaxation exercise I have included some links to posts that can help lead you to living victoriously.
2 Deep Breathing Exercises and the Benefits of Deep Breathing
11 Healthy Thoughts That Will Change Your Life
Caregiving and Stress – Compassion Fatigue
5 Ways of Letting Go
Have you tried progressive muscle relaxation before? What were the results for you? What are some additional ways that you have found helpful in combatting stress and anxiety? Please drop me a note in the comments.
Be blessed. 💞💞💞
Did you enjoy this post? If so, please share it with your friends on your social media
11 thoughts on “Muscle Relaxation Exercise to Combat Stress & Anxiety”
Wow i badly need these exercises! Thanks
I am glad that they are what you needed. Blessings ❤️
I so need these exercises to do throughout the day so that I can relax my muscles a little from all the stress! Thanks for the great muscle relaxation exercises.
Stress can really put a strain on our bodies. Hope you get some relief with this exercise. Blessings 💞
Shelly, I love this post and thought it was a perfect tie-in to my graduation blog post. So I provided a backlink, you can see it here: http://bit.ly/2vESkfL
Thank you so much. Blessings 💞💞
Great summary. As I age, I am finding it more necessary to make a conscious effort to stretch my body just to stay flexible enough to sit cross-legged on the floor. If I could tell my younger self anything, it would be to take care of the body you have as you only get one! It is so important to keep it in good working order.
I can relate. Blessings 💞💞
I learned this type of meditative release a few years ago and it is so helpful! Thanks for sharing!
Lauren | https://www.laurelandiron.com/
Blessings to you 💞💞