I came across this technique in the ‘managing emotions’ course and I thought it might be useful to share.
Paired muscle relaxation is a skill, it takes tome to develop but it can be useful to try if you’re struggling with stress or having problems falling asleep.
- Practice in a quiet place with no distractions
- Effectiveness improves with practice
- If you become anxious try focusing on your breathing until you’re able to continue
Step by Step
- Get into a comfortable position where you can relax. Loosen tight clothing. Lie or sit down with all body parts uncrossed.
- For each of the body areas below, gather tension by tightening the muscles, focus on the sensation of tightness and hold it as you inhale for 5-6 seconds, then release and breath out.
- As you release say in your mind very slowly the word “Relax”.
- Observe the changes in sensations as you relax for 10-15 seconds and then move on to the next muscle.
- Hands and Wrists: make fists with both hands and pull fists up on wrists
- Lower and upper arms: make fists and bend both arms up to touch your shoulders
- Shoulders: pull both shoulders up to your ears
- Forehead: pull eyebrows closer together, wrinkling forehead
- Eyes: shut tightly
- Nose and upper cheeks: scrunch up nose, bring upper lips and cheeks towards eyes
- Lips and lower face: press lips together, bring edges of lips back towards ears
- Tongue and mouth: teeth together, tongue pushing on upper mouth
- Neck: push head back into chair or floor
- Chest: take a deep breath and hold it
- Back: arch back bringing shoulders together
- Stomach: hold in tightly
- Buttocks: squeeze together
- Upper legs: legs out, tense thighs
- Calves: legs out point toes down
- Ankles: legs out, point toes together, heels out