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How To Do Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Relax Already: Progressive Muscle Relaxation

I am always looking for ways to relax. From work to my family to tax season, I've been pretty tightly wound. I haven't had the time to go get a massage — my favorite stress reliever — so I have been looking for ways that I can relax on my own. I came across a technique called Progressive Muscle Relaxation where you focus on slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group. The idea is that you focus on the difference between muscle tension and relaxation, which allows you to become more aware of physical sensations. What's more? Concentrating on relaxing your muscles makes it harder to think about stressful problems and events.

Want to learn how to do it? Then


Here's how you do it: Sit in a chair with your back straight, head in line with your spine, both feet on the floor, and hands resting on your lap. Tighten each muscle group and keep it tightened for 15 to 20 seconds. Then relax slowly and notice the difference between tension and relaxation. It is best to start at the head and work down the body or start at the feet and work up. Try and do the technique twice a day — it should take you about 12-15 minutes to get through all your muscle groups.

I've been using the technique for a few days and I've got to say that it really is relaxing — though I can't say I've forgotten about Uncle Sam. Try it out and let me know what you think.


aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Great idea!!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
I'm with the others who use this to fall asleep faster. It's really a great technique if your mind tends to race as soon as you hit the pillow.
wren1 wren1 9 years
I've been *having* trouble...
wren1 wren1 9 years
I've been trouble relaxing and even more trouble sleeping. I'm going to try it :)
MA-cw MA-cw 9 years
I do this when I need to fall asleep, too. It always works to relax me, even if my mind is racing about 12 million things. One of my favorite sleep tricks I ever learned.
jjlyn jjlyn 9 years
meee too! i do this when i can't fall asleep. it helps so much :)
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I actually do this when I am having trouble falling asleep. I tense up my legs and hold it for a while and then let them get all floppy. Then I tense up my abs and let them relax. Etc., etc, until I get to my face...I squinch up my face and then slowly relax everything and I feel like a giant rag doll and usually I fall asleep right away. It really does work great.
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