What Is Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Definition of Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive Muscle Relaxation or PMR is a technique where a person practices a series of actions that will allow his muscles to fall in deep relaxation.
Anxiety is formed in the mind and it reveals itself as stress when we react to it. Similarly, when the body is under stress or duress, our muscles become tense and this is where we physically feel the negative effects of anxiety.
Through progressive muscle relaxation, you will be able to target muscle groups that are causing you pain and allow your body to be relieved of stress, thus stopping anxious thoughts from sending signals to your brain, so that you can go through your day without being controlled by them.
The Benefits Of Progressive Muscle Relaxation
One of the pros of PMR is that its effects are immediate and measurable. Because you will be targeting a physical body part (muscles), you will find it easier to identify tension points, bring your attention to and ease them.
In addition to this, though progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that deals with the physical, it is still very much connected to your emotional and mental health. Considered more as a type of therapy, consistent performance of PMR can clear your thoughts of worry and negativity by calming your body. You could say that the process goes the other way around compared to pure meditation which starts in the mind.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation Plus Meditation: How They Can Work Together
Though we’ve mentioned that the method behind PMR first begins with the body, if coupled with meditation, it can be an additional practice to the latter instead of a separate concept. This means that you can continue practicing your chosen type of meditation and include PNR in between, or after your routine.
Likewise, PMR can enhance your meditative technique especially if you often feel muscle tension and have difficulty getting rid of the pain. Yes, there are medicines and patches you can buy over the counter to counter these stress points. However, they are quick fixes that do not last.
The point of PMR is for it to be a habit, a lifestyle you don’t have to think about doing. You’ll just do it.
How To Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Very similar to the method used in meditating, start with looking for a spot where you can sit comfortably and where there aren’t any distractions. Choosing a chair that has a backrest will be a good option. Furthermore, it will be to your benefit that you be seated on a chair that’s perfect for your sitting height, meaning your feet should not dangle from the floor.
Now, tense your toes by curling them inward. Hold that position for 10 seconds and release. Next, flex your ankles and hold the position as well for the same amount of time before releasing. Follow this pattern upward until you reach your neck. And remember, when you tense each muscle group, it should not cause you pain. If it is, then lessen the strength you are putting in the technique.
Once you are able to complete the process from toe to head (or from head to toe), inhale and exhale deeply for about 5 times.