Progressive muscle relaxation is a relaxation technique that involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in the body. The goal of this technique is to help you become more aware of your muscle tension and to learn how to relax your muscles.
It may be simpler to let go of anxious or stressful thoughts if you can release tension from your body - essential if you have racing thoughts and need to sleep.
Here’s an exercise you can try:
- Allow your body to become limp by lying down on a flat surface.
- Take a few slow, deep breaths in and exhale slowly
- Starting with your toes and working up, focusing on one area of your body at a time, squeeze and release the muscles in that area
- Each time you release, try to completely release the tension completely throughout your body
- Next repeat the squeeze and release with your heels, then your lower legs, your thighs, your stomach, and so on
- Allow your forehead to be the last
Take note of how calm your body feels and the impact it has on your mind.
Progressive muscle relaxation can be a useful tool for reducing stress and improving relaxation. It can be practiced as often as you like, and can be particularly helpful before bedtime to help you fall asleep.
Here's a guided video to help you get the hang of it.