Progressive muscle relaxation

1 * Find a comfortable position sitting or lying down.
2 * Take a few moments to mentally let go of the things you have been doing or need to do later.
3 * Take some slow breaths.

You will be tightening the major muscle groups in the body one by one. You hold them tight for about 10 seconds, then let them go as you breathe out. Do not tighten them so much that you create pain. Give yourself some time between each set of contractions – maybe 20 or 30 seconds, so that you can pay attention to and enjoy the relaxation you are developing.

This is a good sequence to use:

4 * bring one fist up to the shoulder. Tighten the fist, forearm, bicep.
Hold 10 seconds, breathe out, let go. (Do this for each instruction below)
5 * bring the other fist up. Tighten the fist, forearm, bicep
6 * both fists to shoulders. .
7 * lift your shoulders to your ears. Tighten your neck and shoulders.
8 * push head against head rest, or pillow to tighten the neck
9 * lift your eyebrows as high as you can, tightening the forehead
10 * pull your eyebrows together and down, tightening the forehead
11 * close your eyes tightly
12 * bite down with the back teeth to make the jaw tight
13 * tighten lips together and push tongue against the top of your mouth to tighten the mouth, throat and
14 * put your palms together (in “prayer” position) and push them together, tightening your chest
Pull your shoulders back and your shoulder blades together to tighten your upper back
15 * IF YOU HAVE NO BACK PROBLEMS: arch and tighten your back
16 * make your abdomen / belly hard by pulling stomach in
17 * squeeze your buttocks together
18 * straighten one leg and tighten the thigh
19 * straighten the other leg and tighten the thigh
20 * point one toe and tighten the calf (ease off if it cramps)
21 * point other toe and tighten the calf (ease off if it cramps)
22 * if you like, arch your feet pushing your toes into your shoe

23 * Scan your body, checking out each of the muscle groups noted above. If you notice tension in an area, work it again.
24 * If you like, spend some time with slow breathing and some positive imagery afterward.

Brian Grady, Ph.D.

Advertisements