Progressive Muscle Relaxation
At one time or another most of us have felt stress and anxiety in our bodies. Think in terms of that feeling you get in your stomach when faced with something you dread doing or that tension headache or migraine or the ever popular pain in the neck! This is your body’s way of saying “Stop carrying stress in me!”
Here is a great way to de-stress your body:
Sit or lay in a comfortable position, a recliner or couch or bed are all good options.
Take two very slow and very deep breaths. Continue breathing slowly and deeply.
On the third deep breath, begin to tense the muscles in your toes and feet as you inhale. As you exhale, slowly relax those same muscles.
On the fourth deep breath, tense the muscles in your legs as you slowly inhale.
Continue up your body working each group of muscles, tensing as you inhale slowly and deeply and relaxing the muscles as you slowly and deeply exhale.
Once you reach your head (don’t forget there are many muscles in your face and head!) work your way back down to your toes. Then do it all one more time, working your way up from your toes to your head and back down to your toes. Take two more slow and deep breaths and just relax.
This is a great way to start each morning and a great way to end each day. Once you practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation you will find it only takes a few minutes each time you do it. This is a particularly helpful technique for those who suffer with migraine headaches and IBS. The more you learn to control your muscles, the more you can relax them when they become tense.
I trust you will find this to be an enjoyable and relaxing technique.
Louella DeVries, LCPC
President, Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc.