Progressive Deep Muscle Relaxation
Did you know that it is not possible to be tense and relaxed at the same time? The two feelings cannot coexist concurrently. Did you know that you have a choice of how you would like your body to respond?
Which would you prefer? If you are like me, you feel most comfortable feeling relaxed, confident, calm and composed. You can create this feeling in your body any time you want to by learning this simple technique called Prgressive Relaxation. You will be able to relax your muscles, reduce your pulse rate, lower your blood pressure and decrease respiration rates. Deep Muscle Relaxation, when successfully mastered, can and will help you eliminate feelings of anxiety.
Progressive Relaxation was first described by Dr. Edmond Jacobson in 1929. His technique is based on the premise that our bodies respond to anxiety provoking thoughts and events with muscle tension. The physiological, in turn, increases the subjective experience of anxiety. The habit of responding with muscle relaxation replaces the habit of responding with anxiety.
The following is a procedure for achieving deep muscle relaxation quickly. Whole muscle groups are tensed for 7 seconds and then relaxed for 20 seconds. You will notice the contrast between the sensations of tension and feelings of relaxation. Repeat each exercise 3 times before proceeding onto the next.
- Curl both fists tightening biceps and forearms (Charles Atlas pose,) hold for 7 seconds. Relax for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times.
- Wrinkle up forehead. At the same time, press your head as far back as possible, roll it clockwise in a complete circle, reverse. Now wrinkle up the muscles of your face like a walnut: frowning, eyes squinted, lips pursed, tongue pressing the roof of your mouth, and shoulders hunched. Hold for 7 seconds. Relax for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times.
- Arch back as you take a deep breath to a count of 6 into your chest. Feel your abdomen expanding. Hold for a moment, then exhale to a count of 6. Repeat 3 times.
- Stretch your feet and toes back toward your face while tightening your shins. Hold for 7 seconds. Relax briefly, then curl toes, simultaneously tightening calves, thighs and buttocks for 7 seconds. relax for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times.
With practice, your body will learn what it needs to know in order to help feel more and more peaceful, and more and more relaxed.