If you’ve never heard of progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) before, then you’ve come to the right place.
PMR is a relaxation exercise that anyone can do that will help reduce disruptive and disturbing emotional episodes such as insomnia and anxiety. PMR is a relaxation technique that is useful for someone going through immense stress, nervousness, or a panic attack.
PMR has been around since the 1920s, and was developed by an American doctor Edmund Jacob. He saw that no matter what their illness, most of his patients suffered from muscle tension and pain. This inspired the doctor to develop a sequence of tightening and relaxing isolated muscle groups that will allow patients to be more aware of their muscle tension and how to let go of it and eventually feel more relaxed.
At this point you may be asking – does it actually work?
The way PMR works is it partially helps you counter your body’s natural fight-or-flight response. Few of the common symptoms that this stress response brings about are muscle pain, stiffness, and tension. PMR, like other relaxation techniques, induce your body to a relaxed state – lower heart rate, calmer mind, and reduced muscle tension. By relaxing the body, you may be more able to let go of anxious thoughts and emotions.
To get a feel of how PMR works, try squeezing one of your fists as hard as you can and notice how tight your forearm and fingers feel. Keep this tension for 10 seconds, then release. Allow your fingers and forearm to relax completely. Notice the difference from when you squeezed your fist to how relaxed it is now.
Here is a more detailed version of PMR that absolutely anyone can do. Keep this handy for when you’re feeling extremely stressed, anxious, or nervous.
Have you tried the PMR technique before? How did it help you reduce negative emotional symptoms? Let us know in the comments below!