There are many types of relaxation techniques out there, from autogenic relaxation, to visualization, to progressive muscle relaxation. The latter, also known as progressive relaxation therapy, was developed by Edmund Jacobson, an American physician, in the 1920s. The technique involves monitoring and controlling your muscle tension. The goal is to relax by first tensing and then releasing the tension from each of your muscle groups.
Among some of the most important progressive muscle relaxation benefits are: reduced anxiety, helping with sleep, easing stomach aches and headaches, and many others. Today, we’re going to be looking at 2 progressive relaxation techniques that you can try in order to manage stress and promote a general state of well-being.
Prepare for Your Relaxation Session
Before we get into the progressive relaxation techniques we’ve gathered for you today, we wanted to provide you with some tips on how to prepare for them. First of all, you should do this when you’re feeling rested and wearing comfortable clothes. Also, make sure that you have a blanket at hand, since you might get cold in the process. Go to a place that’s quiet and where you know no one will interrupt you, and then choose a comfortable position for you. It doesn’t matter if it’s sitting down or standing. After taking a couple of deep breaths, you’re ready to start with your relaxation techniques.
2 Progressive Relaxation Techniques
1. The Basic Technique
Tense the muscles in one part of your body and breathe in for 5 seconds. Try to keep your muscles as tense as possible without them hurting. When you breathe out through your mouth, also relax your muscles. While you do that, try to focus on how relaxed the muscles feel. After 10 seconds, switch to another muscle group and repeat the technique above. Remember not to rush this process and allow yourself time to relax between muscle groups.
2. Toes-to-Scalp Relaxation
Breathe in through your nose while tensing your feet and curling your toes. After 5 seconds, release the tension and notice how your muscles feel when they’re relaxed compared to what they felt when you were tensing them. Wait for 10 seconds and then move to your legs, where you’re going to start with a muscle group at a time, before moving on to the entire leg. The sequence should be the following: calf muscles, middle and inner thighs, outer thighs, buttocks, entire leg.
Next, you’re going to focus on your stomach and back. The way to tense the stomach is to imagine you’re attempting to get your spine and belly button to touch. The way to tense the back is to arch it and tighten the muscles above your buttocks. Moving on to your chest and upper back, use a deep breath to help you tense your chest, and pull your shoulder blades back as much as you can. For your shoulders, you should lift them up as if wanting to touch your ears, and tilt your head back to help with the tension in your neck.
Your arms should also be taken one muscle group at a time, in this order: triceps, biceps, forearms, hands. Finally, release the tension in your face by opening your mouth wide, raising your eyebrows, and making a sour face.
Whenever you’re feeling stressed and tense, try these progressive relaxation techniques and you’ll feel better in an instant. For even more techniques, make sure to watch the progressive muscle relaxation video below!
Image Source: here.