How can I use progressive muscle relaxation to help with stress?

Progressive muscle relaxation will help you de-stress by tensing, then releasing, muscles. Find a quiet room to perform the upper body progressive relaxation below.

In each step, contract your muscles as hard as possible, then relax. Breathe deeply with each action:
  • Get comfortable on a couch, chair or on the floor -- arms at your sides and legs uncrossed. Shake out your arms and legs.
  • Take several deep abdominal breaths.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Clench your fists. Relax.
  • Bend both elbows hard. Relax.
  • Raise your eyebrows. Smooth forehead. Relax.
  • Squint your eyes. Wrinkle nose. Relax.
  • Bring teeth together; pull back corners of mouth. Relax.
  • Pull your chin to chest. Relax.
  • Press head back against chair, bed or floor. Relax.
  • Take a deep breath and hold while putting your shoulder blades together. Exhale slowly. Relax.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.