Progressive muscle relaxation

Relaxation techniques

Progressive muscle relaxation

  1. Choose a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.
  2. Before you start, do a few gentle stretching exercises to relieve muscular tension.
  3. Make yourself comfortable, either sitting or lying down.
  4. Start to breathe slowly and deeply, in a calm and effortless way.
  5. Starting with your feet and working your way up to your face and head, gently tense your muscles for 5 seconds, then relax them for 5 seconds – repeat 3 times for each part of your body.
  6. As you focus on each area, think of warmth, heaviness and relaxation.
  7. Push any distracting thoughts to the back of your mind; imagine them floating away.
  8. Don’t TRY to relax; simply let go of the tension in your muscles and allow them to become relaxed.
  9. Let your mind go empty. Some people find it helpful to visualise a calm, beautiful place such as a garden or meadow.
  10. Stay like this for about 20 minutes, then take some deep breaths and open your eyes, but stay sitting or lying for a few moments before you get up.