Progressive muscle relaxation can be a great way to find calm in your body. Some folks engage in this practice right before bed if they notice a difficulty getting to sleep. Some folks engage in this practice at different points in their day when tension an anxiety are building within their bodies. When I discuss this with clients it is usually in relation to sleep difficulties. However, I am often engaging in this practice for general experiences of tension.
Engaging in deep diaphragmatic breathing while progressively relaxing your muscles can help lessen effects of the fight or flight response. Often it is best to engage in this practice while lying down or sitting comfortably. The exercise involves progressively tensing and relaxing muscle groups so you want to make sure that you are able to engage in a way that meets your needs.
For example, I often do it while sitting in a chair. I start with tensing my feet (avoiding tensing too tightly) on the inhale and relaxing them on the exhale. Then I move up to my leg muscle groups, to my glutes, to back and shoulders, and finally to my fists. You can choose to focus on smaller or larger muscle groups as it suits you.
As I engage in this practice for each muscle group I observe what shifts or feelings exist in that area. My goal is to engage in this practice mindfully and without judgment to the best of my ability.
If you find yourself able physically and mentally give this exercise a try the next time you are managing stress or an overactive mind. You can repeat the process as much as you need to.
If there are aspects of this practice that do not meet your ability needs please alter the exercise in a way that fits you best. For example, you may choose to only engage your fists or only your shoulders. This practice is about you!
You seem tense, Sis! Why not relax? You deserve it.