When you’re in pain, often your muscles become tense and sore, adding to your overall pain. Progressive muscle relaxation helps you ease this muscle tension. It’s also a useful technique to use if you’re having problems getting to sleep.
Here’s a progressive muscle relaxation exercise for you to try:
First you need to find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. Make the environment as relaxing as possible – turn the lights down if you can and put some soothing music on to block out any distracting noises. If you’re comfortable to do so, close your eyes. It can help you focus.
Relax your body. Breathe slowly and gently. Take your time and focus on smooth, even breaths.
Starting at your feet, point the toes of your right foot, slowly flexing and tightening the muscles. Notice the tension. Hold this for a few seconds. Then relax.
Now slowly point the toes of your left foot, flexing and tightening the muscles. Notice the tension. Hold this for a few seconds. Then relax.
Move on to your calves. Slowly curl the toes of your right foot towards your right calf, tightening the muscles. Notice the tension. Hold for a few seconds. And relax. Repeat for your left calf.
Continue to work your way through your muscle groups, tensing the muscles as you go, noticing the tension and holding for a few seconds, then relax.
Right foot – point your toes, relax
Left foot – point your toes, relax
Right calf – curl your toes towards your calf, relax
Left calf – curl your toes towards your calf, relax
Right thigh – tighten the muscles, relax
Left thigh – tighten the muscles, relax
Buttocks – squeeze the muscles, relax
Stomach – suck it in, relax
Chest – breathe in deeply filling your lungs and chest, then breathe out
Back – pull your shoulder blades together, relax
Shoulders – shrug your shoulders up to your ears, relax
Neck – pull your head back slowly as if you’re looking at the ceiling, relax
Forehead – raise your eyebrows as far as possible, relax
Eyes – squeeze your eyes closed, relax
Jaw – open your mouth wide, relax
I learned this in primary school and have used it ever since. It’s second nature now. – Lisa