Our bodies and minds are connected.
Ever notice your muscles feel tense when you're anxious? Do you tend to hold a lot of stress in your muscles? Some may hold stress within their face or upper body. I know for me, I tend to hold stress in my back and neck muscles. But what do we do about this? .... Progressive Muscle Relaxation!
It allows us to take a moment to be self-aware and achieve full body relaxation. The good thing about this is, you can practice progressive muscle relaxation anytime!
What is Progressive Muscle Relaxation?
It is a method of achieving full body relaxation by tensing and relaxing muscles throughout the body. It allows us to notice how anxiety affects the muscles in your body, exact feelings of muscle tension, and where we tend to hold tension. It was invented in the 1920s by Dr. Edmund Jacobson to help his patients cope with anxiety.
The image above shows the position typically used to engage in this relaxation technique, but sitting in a comfortable position also works.
Sit back or lie down in a comfortable position. For each area of the body listed below, you will tense your muscles tightly, but not to the point of strain or cramp. Hold the tension for 10 seconds, and pay close attention to how it feels. Then, release the tension, and notice how the feeling of relaxation differs from the feeling of tension.
The key here is to take deep breaths. On the inhale (counting 10 seconds) tense your muscles, then on the exhale (counting 10 seconds) slowly release muscle tension. Take a short break in between each muscle group.
Start at your feet, then slowly move up your body:
To reach full-body stress reduction and relaxation! Research from the American Heart Association detail the negative effects stress can have on heart health and many other systems in the body, even our skin (stress acne is definitely a thing). Here are some other benefits:
Your first time attempting Progressive Muscle Relaxation, may seem a little daunting. Here's a guided session that I thoroughly enjoyed!
Guided Session for Adults
Guided Session for Children
With everything going on in the world, this is a great time to ensure our internal environments are thriving. Not only by what we eat, but also how we feel. I hope you all were able to find value in this post! There are tons of information out there regarding progressive muscle relaxation and other relaxation techniques.
Comment below if you have ever tried this technique before or any other techniques you are wanting to try. Remember, always be gentle with yourselves.
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Hello world! I am Chérie Jade, I am passionate about promoting a holistic lifestyle and encouraging preventative practices for day to day healthy living.