Progressive muscle relaxation is an exercise that reduces stress and anxiety in your body by having you slowly tense and then relax each muscle. This script that we will be following should act as a guide to find the right amount of time in between each muscle group and the right amount of time you hold the tension in each muscle group as you proceed. If you have any pain or discomfort at any of the targeted muscle groups, feel free to omit that step.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Sit back or lie down in a comfortable position. Shut your eyes if you’re comfortable doing so. Begin by taking a deep breath and noticing the feeling of air filling your lungs. Hold your breath for a few seconds. Release the breath slowly and let the tension leave your body. Take in another deep breath and hold it. Again, slowly release the air. Even slower now, take another breath. Fill your lungs and hold the air.
Slowly release the breath and imagine the feeling of tension leaving your body. Now, move your attention to your feet. Begin to tense your feet by curling your toes and the arch of your foot. Hold onto the tension and notice what it feels like. Release the tension in your foot. Notice the new feeling of relaxation. Next, begin to focus on your lower leg. Tense the muscles in your calves. Hold them tightly and pay attention to the feeling of tension.
Release the tension from your lower legs. Again, notice the feeling of relaxation. Remember to continue taking deep breaths. Next, tense the muscles of your upper leg and pelvis. You can do this by tightly squeezing your thighs together. Make sure you feel tenseness without going to the point of strain. And release. Feel the tension leave your muscles.
Begin to tense your stomach and chest. You can do this by sucking your stomach in. Squeeze harder and hold the tension. A little bit longer. Release the tension. Allow your body to go limp. Let yourself notice the feeling of relaxation. Continue taking deep breaths. Breathe in slowly, noticing the air fill your lungs, and hold it.
Release the air slowly. Feel it leaving your lungs. Next, tense the muscles in your back by bringing your shoulders together behind you. Hold them tightly. Tense them as hard as you can without straining and keep holding. Release the tension from your back. Feel the tension slowly leaving your body, and the new feeling of relaxation. Notice how different your body feels when you allow it to relax.
Tense your arms all the way from your hands to your shoulders. Make a fist and squeeze all the way up your arm. Hold it. Release the tension from your arms and shoulders. Notice the feeling of relaxation in your fingers, hands, arms, and shoulders. Notice how your arms feel limp and at ease.
Move up to your neck and your head. Tense your face and your neck by distorting the muscles around your eyes and mouth. Release the tension. Again, notice the new feeling of relaxation.Finally, tense your entire body. Tense your feet, legs, stomach, chest, arms, head, and neck. Tense harder, without straining. Hold the tension.
Now release. Allow your whole body to go limp. Pay attention to the feeling of relaxation, and how different it is from the feeling of tension. Begin to wake your body up by slowly moving your muscles. Adjust your arms and legs. Stretch your muscles and open your eyes when you’re ready.
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