There are some easy steps you can take to cope with stress in the moment. But how can you prevent stress from building up in the first place?
Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a calming technique that is proven to help people avoid and cope with stress. It’s also a great way to avoid dwelling on chronic pain.
How It Works
You’ll relieve stress in your body by tightening each muscle group bit by bit. As your muscles relax, tension will leave your body. Doing this process often can help strengthen your mental muscles as well. This makes it easier to handle stress when it comes up.
Give It a Try
- Find a quiet place.
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and breathe slowly. Get ready to tense your muscles, little by little.
- Toes: Curl them as tightly as you can for 5 seconds. Then relax. Let the tension drift away.
- Feet: Flex your ankles and bend your feet toward your body as far as you can for 5 seconds. Relax.
- Thighs: Press your legs together as tightly as you can for 5 seconds. Relax.
- Hips and buttocks: Tense your hips and rear for 5 seconds. Relax.
- Belly: Tighten your abs for 5 seconds. Relax.
- Back: Arch your back for 5 seconds. Relax. Feel the anxiety and tension disappearing.
- Shoulders: Shrug your shoulders to your ears for 5 seconds. Relax.
- Upper arms: Bend your elbows and tense your biceps for 5 seconds. Relax.
- Forearms: Push your arms against the floor or an invisible wall for 5 seconds. Relax.
- Hands: Extend your arms and clench your fists for 5 seconds. Relax. Feel the blood flow back to your fingers.
- Jaw: Clench your teeth together hard for 5 seconds. Relax.
- Mouth and cheeks: Pinch your lips and tighten your cheeks for 5 seconds. Relax.
- Eyes and nose: Scrunch your nose and screw your eyes shut for 5 seconds. Relax.
- Forehead: Wrinkle your forehead and stretch your eyebrows up to your hairline for 5 seconds. Relax.
- Now that you’re done, take stock of your body. Notice how relaxed it feels after this exercise.
It may feel strange or silly at first, but PMR really works! Try it several times and notice the difference it has on your physical and mental well-being.