No wonder that our hectic life makes us physically and emotionally vulnerable at times. Deadlines, workload, the stress of our daily life can end up becoming the reason for our anxiety. However, it is necessary to follow some routines and tips to keep our minds stress-free. Because our mind and body need to relax in order to work properly. Though we can not do much to reduce our work, yet we can try some methods to feel relaxed. And we all are aware of the benefits of yoga and exercise. However, some people may not have much time to do so. There are some methods to make your body relax and they are also time-consuming. One of such methods is Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
What is Progressive Muscle Relaxation?
The PMR or Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a deep relaxation technique to control stress, anxiety, relieve insomnia, and much more. It also helps in reducing symptoms of some kinds of chronic pain. When a person is stressed or suffering from a social anxiety disorder, their muscles are tensed more often. The technique involves removing tension and stress from our body’s muscle group. It requires the individual to work on one muscle group at a time. When we practice PMR, our body will be able to feel the difference between a relaxed muscle and tensed muscle.
The American physician Edmund Jacobson created this method of PMR in the year 1920. The technique is based upon his theory. And according to the theory, our mental calmness of stability is a result of physical relaxation. And our physical relaxation can promote mental relaxation as well.
Benefits of Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Practicing Progressive Muscle Relaxation can give you plenty of benefits. Therefore let us take a closer look at it.
Reduces anxiety and tension:
Anxiety is one of the major mental illnesses that many people face. It can make a person feel exhausted all the time. However, the practice of the Progressive Muscle Relaxation technique has proven to give a big relief to anxiety. It is also one of the major benefits of PMR. The study says that the PMR technique reduces anxiety as well as improved feelings of well-being. Similarly, another study in 2020 found out that PMR also helped reduce anxiety in people with COVID 19. And it also gave benefits regarding coping with difficult situations during the pandemic.
When a person feels tension or stress, it will trigger the person’s body’s stress response. This also affects breathing, heart rate, and the release of stress hormones. Although it does not affect one’s health for a short team situation. But the long-term exposure to stress can harm a person in so many ways. For instance, it causes muscle tension, headache, raises the risk of blood pressure, heart disease, etc. PMR helps in reducing the stress level by relaxing our muscles. Therefore, when your body is relaxed, you do not feel anxious anymore.
Improves periods of sleep:
A night of good sleep is a must to keep our body healthy and mind fresh. Yet getting enough sleep becomes difficult for many people at times. Meanwhile, regular practice of Progressive Muscle Relaxation can help a person with good sleep. If a person practices this technique in the right way, they may end up sleeping even at that time. According to a study done in 2020, the PMR methods were tested on 80 burn patients. They were facing problems in sleeping and had anxiety because of their health issues. After practicing the PMR technique for 30 minutes continuously, those patients showed positive results. They were feeling less anxious and also experienced an improvement in their sleep. The PMR technique helps in relaxing the muscles and makes you feel stress-free. And once we feel relaxed, it becomes easier to fall asleep.
In addition to this, the PMR technique can also help reduce migraine attacks, back pain, neck pain, and so on. Even pregnant women also find the PMR very beneficial in decreasing low back pain. Similarly, we know that migraine attacks are the result of stress and anxiety. Therefore practicing PMR daily can make one get rid of their migraine as well.
How to do it
The PMR technique is very easy to do. One can do it at home without any equipment. However, attention and focus are the necessary things you need to practice this muscle relaxation technique. Also, you need to make sure that you can practice it in a quiet place. Do that no one can give any kind of disturbance or distraction. Follow the steps below to know exactly how to do the Progressive Muscle Relaxation technique at home-
- You can start by sitting or laying down. Then relax your whole body and take deep breaths.
- Lift your toes upward and hold the position for a few seconds. Then let go. Similarly, pull them downward, hold, and let go.
- Squeeze the muscles in your forehead. After holding it for 15 to 20 seconds. Then count to 30 and slowly release the tension in your forehead.
- Raise your shoulders towards your ear. Hold it for 15 seconds and then let it go.
- Squeeze the muscles of your thigh and hold it. Then it will go.
- Increase tension in your buttocks. Squeeze them, pause and then let go.
- Tightly close your eyes. Pause for some time and then let release.
- Lift and hold your eyebrows for 10 seconds. And then release.
- Breath in and tighten your chest. After holding for a few seconds exhale and relax.
Deal with anxiety in an easy way
Stress and anxiety-free life can lead us to happiness. Nonetheless, maintaining a stress-less life is never easy. It makes us anxious and may cause other problems like back pain, headache, and so on. Yet sometimes, following some easy steps at home can become the reason for our body’s relaxation. And the sole purpose of the Progressive Muscle Relaxation technique is to relax our muscles. So that one can feel free from stress. And once the stress is gone, it also reduces our level of anxiety. However, the PMR technique can be considered as one of the easiest ways to deal with anxiety and stress. It only requires 20 to 30 minutes a day. However, if anyone suffers from any medical condition, they should consult their doctors before practicing it.