“Mental calmness is a natural result of physical relaxation,” according to Edmund Jacobson. Dr. Jacobson was an American physician who created the practice of Progressive Muscle Relaxation in the 1930’s.
If you are looking for a way to de-stress after a long day of work or physical activity, look no further! Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a great way to release mental and physical tension. The more you practice PMR the more you instinctively know when you need to decompress. Incorporating Progressive Muscle Relaxation into your life can make you a calmer, happier person.
What is Progressive Muscle Relaxation?
Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a technique in which you methodically tense and relax all of your muscles. It’s a great way to become more aware of your mind-body connection. A regular PMR practice brings about a calmer mindset.
How Does Progressive Muscle Relaxation Work?
Sit or lie down in a quiet comfortable spot. Begin with several slow breaths. Focus first on your feet and progress all the way up to your head. Inhale, contract your muscle for five seconds, exhale and then release the tension for 15 to 30 seconds.
Continue to breathe evenly and slowly throughout. Envision all your tension melting away. Most importantly, focus on how different you feel when you are relaxed then when you are tense.
Foot -curl your toes down
Lower leg -tighten your calf as you pull your toes towards you
Upper leg -squeeze your thigh
Repeat on the other side
Hand -clench your fist
Arm -tighten and flex your bicep
Repeat on the other side
Belly -suck it in
Chest -take a deep breath and tighten
Neck and shoulders -bring your shoulders up towards your ears
Mouth -open your mouth wide
Eyes -shut them tightly
Forehead -lift your eyebrows up
How often should I practice PMR and for how long?
10 to 20 minutes a day, at least a couple of times a week, is a great place to start.
You can learn to relax your body and mind by practicing Progressive Muscle Relaxation. The more you do it, the easier it will be to know where and when stress begins to affect you. You will be well-equipped to relax your tense muscles as soon as they begin to feel tight. This will give you a greater sense of control over your body and mind. Once your body is relaxed, your mind will follow.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a great skill to learn in order to improve your quality of life. Like most practices, practice makes perfect so why not start -or continue- working on this skill set today?
Mayoclinic.org; verywellmind.com; webmd; anxietycanada.com