How to Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation for Stress and Anxiety

Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that can help you to reduce stress and anxiety in the moment. One way to practice is to start by squeezing your hands as tight as you can for 5 seconds and then relax them for 5 seconds. Do this over and over for as long as you would like. Another way to practice is by doing this throughout your whole body. Start with your feet by tensing them up as tight as you can for 5 seconds then let go. Then move to your calves, thighs, etc. Do this with each section or muscle in your body that you are able to all the way up to your head.

This is a great technique to try because it is simple and available to you in a variety of settings. You can do this throughout the day in any location without much effort. For example, you can do this while you are sitting in your chair at work or before or during a presentation at work. You can also do this at home while you are sitting on the couch or lying in your bed.

Anxiety and stress is a very physical reaction. When we have anxiety and stress our autonomic nervous system can cause a fight or flight response which can cause uncomfortable physical symptoms like shakiness, racing heart and shortness of breath. So, having a physical coping skill that you can use in these moments can help you to interrupt your stress and anxiety. It can help to reduce tension and refocus on something else when you are struggling with both the physical and mental effects of stress and anxiety.