Progressive relaxation is an effective relaxation technique.

Progressive relaxation is a relaxation technique that combines the methods of yoga and body-oriented therapy. However, unlike these techniques, progressive relaxation does not require months or even years of preparation - it can be mastered in weeks!

progressive relaxation

The purpose of this fairly simple technique is to learn to control the body and mind. In theory, if at every moment of time a person learns to control the tension of his muscles, then, accordingly, we will be able to consciously control both our own body and our own thoughts. First of all, this will help get rid of stress and anxiety, and in some cases, progressive relaxation will even normalize blood pressure, pulse and other physical indicators. So, we master the basics and learn how to perform progressive relaxation techniques!

Progressive relaxation effect

This exercise will help you reduce general tension and stress levels, and quickly relax as soon as you feel anxious. On a physiological level, progressive relaxation will solve problems such as abdominal pain and headaches, insomnia. People who often worry and are subjected to repeated stress during the day are so tense that they cannot even recognize and realize it. Many simply do not even know what it means to be relaxed and how a person feels when doing so. Now this can be learned in practice, having mastered the technique of progressive relaxation.

The progressive relaxation technique is based on the fact that muscles cannot be relaxed unless there is a conscious sense that they are tense. And only by learning to feel tightness, muscle tension, you can deliberately relax them. Progressive Muscle Relaxation teaches you how to relax your muscles in two steps. In the first stage, you systematically tense certain muscle groups of the body, such as the neck or arms. In the second, you will learn to be aware of this tension and sensation that your muscles experience as soon as you allow them to rest.

During the first two weeks of practice, you will need to perform these steps twice a day until you have clearly mastered all the skills. The better you practice, the faster the necessary relaxation comes in response to stress. When you start practicing progressive relaxation, you don't have to wait for stress or anxiety! On the contrary, it is better to start mastering the practice to practice in moments when you are completely calm. Thus, you will quickly master the method of progressive relaxation and in the future you will already meet stress fully armed. As you go through the tension-relaxation cycle, you will learn to recognize the first signs of physical and mental tension and relieve it immediately. Essentially, progressive relaxation is a natural “tranquilizer” that helps relieve stress without the side effects of medication.

Preparing for Progressive Relaxation

Take your time: take about 15 minutes of time to slowly perform tension and relaxation. Find a suitable, quiet and comfortable place where you can sit down and do all the exercises without any problems, without anyone disturbing or distracting you. Wear loose, comfortable clothing, remove accessories and shoes, and unfasten your belt. Close your eyes and let your body feel at ease: a chair is perfect for this position. You can also lie down, but this may increase your chances of falling asleep. Although the progressive relaxation method helps to improve sleep, the main goal of this relaxation technique is completely different - to teach a person to relax while awake. Before you start exercising, take about five slow deep breaths...

Progressive relaxation technique: "tension-relax"

Step one: learn to feel muscle tension in a particular part of the body. First you need to focus all your attention on a certain isolated muscle group - for example, the left hand. Then take a slow deep breath and tighten your muscles as hard as possible for 5 seconds. It is important to really feel the tension in the muscles, although this may cause you some discomfort. Therefore, it is better to start the practice with muscles accustomed to tension - for example, clench your hand into a fist. It's easy to accidentally tense other surrounding muscles, such as those higher up in your arm, but you should try to only tense specific muscles. With practice, it will become easier for you to isolate individual muscle groups.

Be careful! Take care not to injure yourself during overvoltage. You should never feel intense or shooting pain while doing this exercise. Muscle tension should be absolutely painless. If you have problems with muscle strain, have had bone fractures, or suffer from any serious medical conditions that may interfere with physical activity. Consult with your physician before beginning progressive relaxation techniques.

Step two: relax tense muscles. This stage involves the rapid relaxation of pre-tensioned muscles. After about 5 seconds of tension, let it flow out of the muscles. Once you complete this step, exhale. You should feel that your muscles become loose and soft: tension seems to flow from them. Here you need to focus very carefully and consciously pay attention to the difference in sensations between the stages of tension and relaxation - this is the most important part of the process. It may take you some time to learn how to relax your body and get a good feel for the difference between tension and relaxation. At first, you may even feel uncomfortable focusing all your attention on your body, but over time it can become quite enjoyable. Remain in this relaxed state for 15 seconds and then proceed to working out the next muscle group in the same tension-relax cycle. After you have completed all the muscle groups, give yourself some rest time to fully enjoy the state of deep relaxation.

Work with different muscle groups

This relaxation technique involves working with almost all major muscle groups in the body. To make it easier to remember the exercise technique, start with your feet and work your way up. Or, if desired, this can be done in reverse order - from the muscles of the forehead to the legs. So:

  • Feet: Wrap your toes in towards your feet.
  • Calves and Feet: Tighten the calf muscle by pulling the foot towards the body.
  • Full legs: Squeeze your thigh muscles tightly.

Repeat all these steps on the other side of the body.

  • Hands: Clench your right hand tightly into a fist.
  • Entire right arm: contract the biceps from the wrist, then the forearm up to the shoulder and "play" the muscles while the fist remains clenched.

Repeat the steps on the left hand.

  • Buttocks: Tighten the muscles so that they come together.
  • Stomach - pull your stomach in as much as possible.
  • Chest - draw in, taking a deep breath.
  • Neck and shoulders: lift your shoulders up, trying to touch your ears with them.
  • Mouth: Open your mouth wide enough to stretch your jaws like hinges.)
  • Eyes: Close your eyes (lids tightly closed).
  • Forehead: Raise your eyebrows as high as possible.

Relaxation is carried out in reverse order in stages. At the same time, giving freedom to each muscle group, fix your attention on your own feelings: let yourself feel how step by step your body leaves tension, tightness. Concentrate on your breathing during tension and relaxation. Construct in your imagination the ideal place for yourself, which will give you a more complete sense of peace. For example, you can imagine walking through a forest that smells of strawberries, or lying on the beach at sunset. This plot will contribute to a deeper and faster relaxation. You can also use some progressive relaxation techniques for Facebook building - this way you will get rid of bad facial habits that bring old age closer.

Progressive Relaxation: Your Own Trainer

For beginners, it may be helpful to have someone guide them through these steps at the beginning of their practice. However, if there is no way to find a teacher, it's okay: there are many selections of music for relaxation or training online. Alternatively, for this process, you can record yourself: in a calm, soothing voice, dictate something like this: “Take a deep breath through your nose ... hold your breath for a few seconds ... now exhale ... another deep breath through nose ... Now pay attention to your body - how it feels ... Start with the right leg ... "And then - the whole cycle of exercises.

Rapid tension and relaxation

Once you've been familiar with the basic progressive relaxation techniques and have been practicing them for a few weeks, getting comfortable and mastering all the steps, you can try an abbreviated version of progressive relaxation. Rapid tension and relaxation covers the following muscle groups: the entire area of ​​the lower extremities (legs and feet), abdomen and chest; arms, shoulders, and neck, as well as the face. However, instead of focusing on just one isolated muscle group, this technique allows you to focus on a larger muscle complex at the same time. For example, try working your stomach and chest muscles together.

When doing an abbreviated version of progressive relaxation, it is helpful to say a word or phrase to yourself (eg, "relax", "keep calm", "let yourself go", etc...). This word or phrase will be strongly associated in your mind with relaxation, so that in the end, only by saying such a code word will you be able to completely calm down. You may need this when you do not have enough time to go through all the stages of progressive muscle relaxation.

Progressive Relaxation: Release Only

A great way to further reduce the time spent on the progressive muscle relaxation technique is to practice the release-only technique. It does not involve artificially created tension when you deliberately contract the muscles, but only the rapid relaxation of the muscles in response to stress or other stimulus. Of course, this technique is available to already experienced practitioners of progressive relaxation, who have already learned to recognize all the bodily symptoms of anxiety, stress and traces of the slightest involuntary tension.

Practice progressive relaxation techniques often and regularly - only in this way will this technique help you get rid of stress as soon as a real need arises. Although this may seem a little tedious at first, you will eventually master a very useful skill to perfection. Progressive relaxation will become an important tool for managing stress and anxiety in everyday life - and it's so full of negativity.

Things to know (Q&A)

What is progressive relaxation technique?

Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is a relaxation technique. It involves tensing and then relaxing your muscles, one by one . This helps you release physical tension, which may ease stress and anxiety. Research has shown that PMR offers a range of benefits, including pain relief and better sleep.

What is an example of progressive relaxation?

For example, you may imagine a peaceful setting and then focus on controlled, relaxing breathing, slowing your heart rate, or feeling different physical sensations, such as relaxing each arm or leg one by one . Progressive muscle relaxation.

What is progressive relaxation?

Progressive Muscle Relaxation teaches you how to relax your muscles through a two-step process . First, you systematically tense particular muscle groups in your body, such as your neck and shoulders. Next, you release the tension and notice how your muscles feel when you relax them.

What type of therapy is progressive relaxation?

Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is an anxiety-reduction technique first introduced by American physician Edmund Jacobson in the 1930s. 1 The technique involves alternating tension and relaxation in all of the body's major muscle groups. If you practice this technique correctly, you may even end up falling aslee