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. This exercise will help you to lower your overall tension and stress levels, and help you relax when you are feeling anxious. It can also help reduce physical problems such as stomach aches and headaches, as well as improve your sleep.
People with anxiety are often so tense throughout the day that they don’t even recognize what being relaxed feels like. Through practice you can learn to distinguish between the feelings of a tensed muscle and a completely relaxed muscle. Then, you can begin to “cue” this relaxed state at the first sign of the muscle tension that accompanies your feelings of anxiety. By tensing and releasing, you learn not only what relaxation feels like, but also to recognize when you are starting to get tense during the day.
Download this helpful resource to learn how to use progressive muscle relaxation as a tool for coping with anxiety.