Progressive muscle relaxation involves progressively tensing and then relaxing muscles throughout your body to induce the relaxation response.
This progressive relaxation script includes the keywords “breathe” and “relax” to further help you achieve a state of relaxation.
To begin this relaxation exercise, find a comfortable position where you can relax your muscles, such as lying down or sitting in a supportive chair.
This progressive muscle relaxation exercise should not cause pain or discomfort. If you experience discomfort when tensing your muscles, stop or ease up. Listen to your body, and make sure that you remain comfortable for the duration of this exercise.
When you are ready to begin the progressive muscle relaxation, close your right hand into a fist. Squeeze tightly, feeling the tension in the muscles of your hand and lower arm. Hold as you breathe in…and relax, breathing out. Let all the tension go.
Now tighten your left hand into a fist, squeezing tightly. Feel the muscles of your hand and lower arm as they are very tense. Breathe in, holding the tension…and relax. Breathe out.
Concentrate now on your shoulders as you continue the progressive muscle relaxation. Raise them up toward your ears, holding your arms tight against your sides. Tense the muscles of your upper arms and your shoulders. Hold that tension…breathe in…and relax. Breathe out, letting all the tension go.
Notice the difference in how your muscles feel. Notice what it feels like for your muscles to be tense, and what it feels like to be relaxed. Progressive muscle relaxation allows you to see how a relaxed muscle differs from a tense muscle.
Turn your attention to the muscles of your face. Tighten the muscles of your face by squeezing your eyes shut tightly and holding your lips tightly together. Feel the tension in the muscles of your face. Hold…breathe in…and relax. Breathe out. Let your face relax and become limp.
Tighten the muscles of your jaw now, holding your teeth together tightly. Breathe in. Hold…and relax. Breathe out. Let your jaw drop loosely, calm and relaxed.
Proceed now to the muscles of your back. Continue the progressive muscle relaxation. Arch your back slightly and pull your shoulder blades together, tightening the muscles of your back. Hold this tension. Breathe in, continuing to hold the tension…and exhale. Let all the tension go. Let the muscles of your back relax. Allow these muscles to be loose and comfortable.
Focus the progressive muscle relaxation on the muscles of your chest and stomach. Bend forward slightly and cross your arms in front of you, tightening your chest and stomach muscles. Hold the tension…breathe in…and breathe out, relaxing, letting go. Feel the muscles relaxing. Notice the feeling of tense and then relaxed. See the difference between these two states.
Tighten now the muscles of your buttocks, feeling your body raise up slightly as you do so. Hold the tension, feeling the tension in the muscles. Breathe in…hold…and relax. Breathe out. Let the muscles become relaxed and loose. Let all the tension go.
Focus your attention on the muscles of your thighs. Tighten these muscles on the front, sides, and back of your upper legs. Hold…breathe in…and now breathe out. Let the tension leave your body as you exhale.
Now tense the muscles on the front of your lower legs by raising your feet, pointing your heels down and your toes upward. Breathe in, holding the tension. Now breathe out. Relax.
Point your toes now and feel the tension in the back of your lower legs and in your feet. Hold this position tightly. Feel the tension. Breathe in…and exhale. Allow your muscles to relax. Feel the relaxation.
Notice the muscles throughout your body. Taking note of the difference between tension and relaxation, find any remaining areas of tension in your body. Focus on one area of tension as you breathe in. Hold that breath, imagining the tension is held with the air in your lungs. As you breathe out, let the tension go. Feel the area relaxing.
You can use this method to relax any areas of your body that remain tense. Scan your body now for any areas of tension, and focus on relaxing each area as you breathe.
If there are any remaining areas that are still tense, tighten the muscles in this area. Hold the tension tighter, tighter…breathe in… and relax. Feel the area relaxing as you breathe out. Notice the difference between tension and relaxation. See how you can create relaxation at will.
Let your body relax even further…deepening the state of relaxation. With each breath, you can become even more relaxed. More and more relaxed. Deeper and deeper, very deeply relaxed. Peaceful…comfortable…relaxed…free from tension…no worries…just relaxation…
Enjoy this feeling of relaxation you are experiencing.
Take note of this feeling of relaxation. Memorize this feeling, so in the future you can picture this relaxed state and feel calmer simply by remembering how relaxed you were. Take a moment now to observe the relaxation you are experiencing and memorize it.
Now it is time to reawaken your body, but you can return to this relaxed state again, simply by remembering the difference between tension and relaxation. You can consciously relax your muscles and achieve a calm state of relaxation whenever you need to.
For now, turn your attention to your body, feeling your body reawaken. Feel the energy flowing through your body as your muscles reawaken, but remain free of tension. Gently move your muscles as you feel a state of wakefulness returning.
Take a few moments to continue to reawaken your mind and body, feeling your mind returning to its usual level of alertness.
When you are ready, open your eyes, and return to your day, feeling calm and energetic.