Progressive Muscle Relaxation

progressive muscle relaxation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation – written by Alan Anderson

If you carry a lot of tension in your muscles, you should consider learning progressive muscle relaxation. It it is one of the most powerful exercises created to reduce muscle tension and stress. It works by progressively applying extra tension to each muscle set and then relaxing them, hence the name progressive muscle relaxation. P.M.R can be used any time to reduce muscle tension but is particularly useful when trying to relax before sleep.

progressive muscle relaxation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation – How Does It Work?

You can do P.M.R either seated in a chair with an upright posture or laying down. Here is a simple P.M.R exercise that you can try out right now.

I find there are two levels P.M.R. Firstly, you can just go through the exercise of tensing and releasing each set of muscles in turn. Secondly, you can add a  powerful secret source.

The secret sauce is to utilize the most powerful muscle in your body… your brain. OK, we know the brain is not a muscle. But it is incredibly powerful and under-utilized tool in stress reduction.

Scientists have proven that our brain has a massive impact on our body. This is because our subconscious mind controls all of our automatic body systems like breathing and blood flow and it does not know the difference between fact and fiction.

If your conscious mind focuses on tension, stress and all of the problems of your day…guess what… you will stay tense and stressed.

progressive muscle relaxation -mind

The Influence of Your Mind

On the flip side, if you shift your conscious thoughts to relaxation, the subconscious mind will follow and so will your body. This is because our subconscious mind controls the automatic stress response and it’s opposite the deep relaxation response. Also, the subconscious mind is responsible for running all of our bodies automatic processes.

So, although we first tense each muscle set the key is to focus on the relaxing of each muscle set, bringing the power of your mind into play. As you release the tension in your muscles you imagine your muscles feeling relaxed and they well follow. That’s because you are now inducing your deep relaxation response.

Also, by focusing your conscious mind on positive affirmations you also stop your mind from focusing on your stress. This means you focus your mind on what you want your body to feel like.

In fact, this is where the incredible power of affirmations can supercharge your P.M.R results.

Affirmations are strong positive statements that when repeated with strong emotion and intent can allow our conscious thoughts to impact and instruct your subconscious mind and so directly affect these automatic processes like the activation of your deep relaxation response.

We therefore strongly suggest that you add the power of affirmation to your P.M.R exercise. The reality is that you have nothing to lose except your doubt and the tension and stress that you carry in your body.

progressive muscle relaxation -practice

Taking Action

If you are not happy with your health or well-being, then you must take positive action. Forming new positive habits takes at least thirty days of repetition, so start by trying P.M.R. Here is a previous post which includes my own P.M.R script to help guide your through your relaxation exercises.

Then, suspend any doubt for a short period and try using affirmations for yourself.

P.M.R can also be considered a basic form of guided mindfulness meditation. If you would like to learn how to meditate to reduce stress check out

Also, here are some other posts you might enjoy.

Why You Must Beat Stress Before It Beats You

3 Simple Mindfulness Exercises

17 Daily Affirmations for Self-Empowerment



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