Progressive Muscle Relaxation
One way the body responds to stress is muscle tension. Muscle tension can increase stress levels, result in muscle aches and pains and leave you feeling exhausted, as tensing muscles uses up a great deal of energy. Much of the time we don’t even realise our muscles have become tense, and it’s not until we bring our awareness to specific muscles that we notice tension or discomfort there. Some common areas where people hold tension are the jaw, shoulders, back and legs. Tension headaches, as well as back and neck pain, are often associated with muscle tension.
Studies suggest that progressive muscle relaxation is effective in reducing muscular tension. Progressive muscle relaxation is a relaxation technique during which you tense specific muscles and then consciously relax them, releasing the muscle tension. Therefore progressive muscle relaxation can be a valuable tool that teaches you where in your body you experience tension. Progressive muscle relaxation also trains your body and the neural pathways in your brain to react to stress and anxiety in more adaptable ways.
However if you have any injuries or physical problems that may cause you muscle pain, you must consult your doctor before practicing progressive muscle relaxation.
If you choose to do progressive muscle relaxation, please try to:
- Do this twice a day over the next few weeks.
- Use the guided audio or text-based version of the guided-audio exercise (found in ”Practise Tools’ & ‘Downloads’ boxes below) to assist you with your daily practise.
- Complete the self-monitoring form (pdf version found in ‘Downloads’ box below) before and after each practise.
Note: You are also able to listen to the guided-audio with one of the the relaxation videos in the box below. Just press play on the audio and then play on the video. You can also switch to ‘full-screen’.
In this box you will find two guided-audios and four relaxation videos to help you with your daily practise.
- The first guided audio (introduction) explains ‘why to do it’ and the second (exercise) is the actual guided exercise itself (what you will use when doing the daily practise).
Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Introduction
Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Exercise
In this box you will find two pdfs that you can download to assist you with your practise.
- The first is a text-based version of the guided-audios above and the second is a self-monitoring practise form.
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