Health & Wellbeing

I feel tense

Why don’t you try? : Try progressive muscle relaxation to tackle tension in the body

Progressive Muscle Relaxation teaches you how to relax your muscles through a two-step process. First, you systematically tense particular muscle groups in your body, such as your neck and shoulders. Next, you release the tension and notice how your muscles feel when you relax them. This exercise will help you to lower your overall tension and stress levels, and help you relax when you are feeling anxious. It can also help reduce physical problems such as stomach aches and headaches, as well as improve your sleep.

How to do Progressive Relaxation

THE TENSION & RELAXATION RESPONSE
Step 1: Tension
The first step is applying muscle tension to a specific part of the body. This step is essentially the same regardless of which muscle group you are targeting. First, focus on the target muscle group, for example, your left hand. Next, take a slow, deep breath and squeeze the muscles as hard as you can for about 5 seconds. It is important to *really feel* the tension in the muscles, which may even cause a bit of discomfort or shaking. In this instance, you would be making a tight fist with your left hand.
It is easy to accidentally tense other surrounding muscles (for example the shoulder or arm), so try to ONLY tense the muscles you are targeting. Isolating muscle groups gets easier with practice.

Step 2: Relaxing the tense muscles
This step involves quickly relaxing the tensed muscles. After about 5 seconds, let all the tightness flow out of the tensed muscles. Exhale as you do this step. You should feel the muscles become loose and limp, as the tension flows out. It is important to very deliberately focus on and notice the difference between the tension and relaxation. This is the most important part of the whole exercise.
Remain in this relaxed state for about 15 seconds, then move on to the next muscle group. Repeat the tension-relaxation steps. After completing all of the muscle groups, take some time to enjoy the deep state of relaxation.

THE DIFFERENT MUSCLE GROUPS
During the progressive relaxation exercise, you will be working with almost all the major muscle groups in your body. To make it easier to remember, start with your feet and systematically move up (or if you prefer, you can do it in the reverse order, from your forehead down to your feet). For example:
* Foot (curl your toes downward)
* Lower leg and foot (tighten your calf muscle by pulling toes towards you)
* Entire leg (squeeze thigh muscles while doing above)
*(Repeat on other side of body)*
* Hand (clench your fist)
* Entire right arm (tighten your biceps by drawing your forearm up towards your shoulder and “make a muscle”, while clenching fist)
*(Repeat on other side of body)*
* Buttocks (tighten by pulling your buttocks together)
* Stomach (suck your stomach in)
* Chest (tighten by taking a deep breath)
* Neck and shoulders (raise your shoulders up to touch your ears)
* Mouth (open your mouth wide enough to stretch the hinges of your jaw)
* Eyes (clench your eyelids tightly shut)
* Forehead (raise your eyebrows as far as you can)

Source: Anxiety Canada
Photo by Elly Fairytale from Pexels

Here’s a tip for you to try this week :

Exercise & other activities such as running, walking, swimming and yoga can help you relax, Try breathing exercises when you feel tense – use this video to help you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqfrbGtorBE , Try progressive muscle relaxation a couple of times this week to see if it can help you tackle tension,

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