Relaxation Tip: Progressive Muscle Relaxation
I remember when I learned how to ski for the first time. It was a tough day with a tough lesson., and I fell so many times. After returning to the hotel, I lay down on the chair and suddenly started noticing the pain in my body. I suddenly realized that my body was tensed up the whole time because of my anxious feeling.
Actually, this is very common. When we are anxious, we tend to tense our muscles unconsciously. After a while, we may find it is very difficult to relax our body.
Does relaxation need practice?
You may think, how ridiculous, why we need to learn how to relax? Everyone knows how to relax!
Wrong! Actually, a lot of people are struggling with how to relax their body effectively! Lying down on the bed or a couch does NOT mean that you are truly relaxing.
In modern society with the fast pace of life, we are slowly losing our ability to adjust ourselves.
Is there any Tips for relaxation?
Yes! The one we will talk about today is one example!
Jacobson developed the first set of training called "progressive muscle relaxation training (PMR)" in 1938 involving over 30 muscle groups in our body. Later, other psychologists improved his method and reduced it to 16 muscle groups.
PMR helps us relax our body to a deeper level through tensing and relaxing each muscle group repeatedly.
Many psychologists have studied the effect of PMR since 1970s. They found satisfying associations between PMR training and reduced psychological symptoms. One meta-analysis study involving over 1600 subjects was published in 1993. Researchers found similar results and found another association between PMR training and reduced blood pressure.
I attached this youtube video that I found, please feel free to follow the video to practice.
If you often feel anxious or you are under a lot of stress, you may give it a try!
This is also a good exercise to practice with family members together :)
Carlson, C. R., & Hoyle, R. H. (1993). Efficacy of abbreviated progressive muscle relaxation training: a quantitative review of behavioral medicine research. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 61(6), 1059.
Jacobson, E. (1938). Progressive relaxation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.