Progressive Muscle Relaxation - Anxiety Reducing Exercises to Relax the Body

PMR or Progressive Muscle Relaxation can be a unique strategy for relieving tension and stress from the mind and body. The goal or emphasis of this strategy is to alternate tension and relaxation in specific and major muscle groups within the body. The basis behind this anxiety relieving strategy is geared to reducing physical tension in these major muscle groups in hopes that it will lead to a state of mental calmness and relaxation for the mind as well. The different muscle groups that progressive muscle relaxation techniques focus on are generally the same, however, once you're able to better control and utilize this technique you may not have to go through the whole routine each time, you can then try to focus on specific muscle groups that work for you at certain moments of heightened stress.

Like many other relaxation exercises to reduce anxiety or stress, this is also one that may take time to perfect. You will get better with practice. A reoccurring theme we see with trying to reduce physical tension and eventually get to a healthier more relaxed state of mind, is focusing on breathing. Progressive relaxation exercises, for me, are no different. Without further ado, let's discuss the process of this muscle relaxation therapy technique:

Step 1:

Breath. Quiet area. If possible, wear loose fitting or comfortable clothing. Do anything you can to become as relaxed as possible. These exercises are also best done lying down, in my opinion, like on a sofa, in bed, on a yoga mat etc. You can also use a recliner chair or improvise a bit.

Step 2:

Once you're focused on your breathing, take a large breath in, squeeze the first muscle group for 5 seconds. (Tip: One of the hardest parts of this for a beginner is making sure to keep all other muscle groups as relaxed as possible, the goal is to focus on one muscle group at a time). Make sure to provide significant tension without hurting yourself.

Step 3:

After 5 seconds of tension, breath out while simultaneously releasing all tension in that muscle group. The focus here is allowing yourself to feel the difference between the tension that you felt, and now the complete relaxation you have in that muscle group.

Step 4:

Relax for 10-15 seconds before continuing with the next muscle group. Please reference the video and imaes above and below these steps, for some easy visuals. You will find some steps in this muscle relaxation therapy are different from person to person, but the concept is the same.

Step 5:

Make sure to remain calm and focus on slow, deep meaningful breathing throughout the duration of these exercises for best outcome

We hope this post has better informed you about PMR, what exactly it is, and how to perform these exercises effectively. Thanks so much for visiting us here at We hope to have you again soon!


Stress Management: Doing Progressive Muscle Relaxation. (2018, June 28). Retrieved December 11, 2019, from

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