Progressive Muscle Relaxation For Stress Relief

by | Stress Management

Progressive muscle relaxation also known as Isometric Muscle Relaxation is a form of relaxation that is simple to follow and can be used before meditation or on its own. This relaxation is a portable strategy you can use anywhere. It works best lying down, but you can do this relaxation sitting in a chair.

This strategy is widely used for stress relief, and we know that when you use it with meditation, it becomes a wonderful support for your anxiety or depression self-care routine.

The relaxation is a two-step process in which you move systematically over your body and tense and relax the different muscle groups. Regularly tuning in enables you to identify different areas of tension within your body. You also learn what complete relaxation feels like in different parts of your body. When you achieve this body awareness, you can counteract the first signs of the muscular tension that accompanies stress and anxiety. As your body relaxes your mind relaxes, and it makes it easier to move into meditation.
If you can combine a deep breathing exercise, the effects are magnified.

See Blog Post Counting Meditations and Mindfulness Meditation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Sequence

• Right foot
• Left foot
• Right calf
• Left calf
• Right thigh
• Left thigh
• Hips and buttocks
• Stomach
• Chest
• Back
• Right arm and hand
• Left arm and hand
• Neck and shoulders
• Face

The convention of this exercise is to start with the feet and feel yourself grounded on the floor and work you way up the body.

1. Lie flat on the floor or on the bed or sit squarely in a chair with your back straight. Make sure you are comfortable.

2. Take a few moments to relax and take in three slow deep breaths.

3. When you are ready to start to focus your attention on your right foot and take the time to notice how your foot feels

4. Slowly tense the muscles in your right foot and squeeze as tightly as you can, hold this tension for a count of 10.

5. Gently relax your right foot and focus on the sensation of the tension ebbing away.

6. Stay relaxed for a moment and breathe three slow breaths in and out.

7. When you feel ready to shift your attention to your left foot and follow the same sequence.

8. Slowly move through the muscle groups in your body, as listed, and repeat the same process finishing with your face.

9. Finish the relaxation with three slow deep breaths.

10. Move your focus to a meditation or slowly come back into the room.


This is a wonderful meditation to use to prepare you for a guided meditation or counting meditation.


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