Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a great tool for reducing tension in your body and mind. By tensing and relaxing muscles, you are signaling to your brain feelings of relaxation. You can focus on the present moment and work on body awareness. This can be done by following a script or watching a video to start and then it can come more naturally. This is a skill that can be done at home or even at work if you are feeling tension.
Warning: Do not overextend yourself or do anything that could cause pain. Do this skill with caution if you have preexisting physical health conditions. Consult your doctor if you have concerns.
Here is a visual to help you get started:
Here is a PMR script to follow:
- hands (make fists)
- arms (make fists and tense your forearms, biceps and triceps)
- shoulders (raise shoulders up as high as possible)
- forehead (wrinkle your forehead, lowering eyebrows)
- eyelids (shut them tightly)
- face (scrunch up nose and raise lips and cheeks)
- tongue and mouth (distort muscles around mouth, push tongue against roof of mouth)
- neck (push chin down toward chest)
- chest (take deep breath and hold it)
- back (arch your back)
- stomach (tense abdominal muscles)
- buttocks/glutes (squeeze together)
- thighs (tense quads and hamstrings)
- calves (point toes downward)
- ankles and feet (curl toes, heels out)
Here is one of my favorite and go-to PMR videos!