Tension that relaxes you!
Progressive Muscle Relaxation:
In the 1930's Edmund Jacobson designed this technique of tensing and relaxing major muscle groups, in order to help us gain a better understanding of our bodies and to regain control of them.
How to Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Step one is to find a distraction free, quiet space. Lie on the floor or recline in a chair, loosen any tight clothing, and remove glasses or contacts. Rest your hands in your lap or on the arms of the chair. Take a few slow even breaths (why not try the 7/11 technique?).
One area at a time, focus your thoughts on the following areas of the body, ensuring that the rest of your body remains relaxed.
Forehead. Squeeze the muscles in your forehead, holding for 15 seconds. Feel the muscles becoming tighter and tenser. Then, slowly release the tension in your forehead while counting for 30 seconds. Notice the difference in how your muscles feel and the sensation of relaxation. Continue to release the tension in your forehead until it feels completely relaxed. Continue breathing slowly and evenly.
Jaw. Tense the muscles in your jaw holding for 15 seconds. Then, release the tension slowly while counting for 30 seconds. Notice the feeling of relaxation and continue to breathe slowly and evenly.
Neck and shoulders. Increase tension in your neck and shoulders by raising your shoulders up toward your ears and hold for 15 seconds. Slowly release the tension as you count for 30 seconds. Notice the tension melting away.
Arms and hands. Slowly draw both hands into fists. Pull your fists into your chest and hold for 15 seconds, squeezing as tight as you can. Then, slowly release while you count for 30 seconds. Notice the feeling of relaxation.
Buttocks. Slowly increase tension in your buttocks by squeezing over 15 seconds. Then, slowly release the tension over 30 seconds. Notice the tension melting away. Continue to breathe slowly and evenly.
Legs. Slowly, increase the tension in your quadriceps and calves over 15 seconds. Squeeze the muscles as hard as you can. Then, gently release the tension over 30 seconds. Notice the tension melting away and the feeling of relaxation that is left.
Feet. Slowly, increase the tension in your feet and toes. Tighten the muscles as much as you can. Then, slowly release the tension while you count for 30 seconds.
Continue to breathe slowly and evenly feeling the tension melt away and a relaxed sensation taking over instead.
If you have found this and the 7/11 technique helpful, yoga could be a natural next step for you. There are many videos on the internet that target various body parts and cater for all abilities. This makes it accessible at home or on the move, all you need is a comfortable towel/blanket to work upon.