Developed in the 1930s by American physician Edmund Jacobson, Progressive Muscle Relaxation or PMR, is a two-step process that can help you lower stress and overall tension levels in the body. It's a fifteen-minute exercise that is done in the comfort of your own home or any setting.
PMR works by tensing various muscle groups in a specific order, holding for a couple of seconds, and then letting go. The premise of PMR is that you cannot feel anxious if your body is physically relaxed. Over time, it can also help you gain a greater sense of control over your bodies response to anxiety and stressful situations.
You can use an audio recording or follow a YouTube video to help you focus on each muscle group, learn the order of the muscle groups and do the exercise from memory. This YouTube video is one of our favourites and a great one to get started with.
If you're struggling with sleep issues or anxiety, or if you feel you're holding a lot of tension in your body, PMR is a great exercise to build into your daily routine, morning and evening. You can do it by reclining in a comfortable chair or lying down on the floor. Make sure to wear loose, comfortable clothing, remove glasses or contact lenses before starting, and breathe slowly and evenly.
When practised regularly, PMR can also teach you which specific muscles give you the most trouble, and you can practice tensing and releasing those whenever you need to.
If you try it out, let us know.