Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a great technique to induce relaxation, especially if you are feeling anxious.

I remember first trying PMR when I was having trouble falling asleep a few years ago. Progressive muscle relaxation is great for relaxation in general, if you are experiencing anxiety or finding it hard to fall to sleep, as you systematically tense and relax your muscles in a sequence of actions.

I am also currently developing one of Pocketcoach's courses and, as PMR features within the app, I wanted to share this with you guys too.


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What Is Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation consists of a series of 'let go' actions that induce relaxation due to the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system - the part of your body that calms you down when you're stressed or anxious.

Progressive muscle relaxation works in a slightly paradoxical way: in order to relax, you first tense up. Only then you can release the tension. A good way to think about this is as a pendulum: if you wanted it to swing to the right, you could push it to the right, however, it would be much easier if we pulled it to the left, then let go. That's exactly what we're doing with PMR; tensing to the left, and feeling the momentum of relaxation as it swings to the right. This is usually stronger than the 'adapted' level of relaxation we have, so we physically experience the sensation of relaxation!  

How To Do Progressive Muscle Relaxation For Anxiety

There are lots of different variations you can do and it is a good idea to try a few to find one that suits you best. There is no better or worse here, the only difference is how specific each relaxation goes. For example, you might relax your body in specific steps including your right hand, then lower arm and then upper arm. Or, you might relax the full arm and move onto your shoulders.

Below, we have some progressive muscle relaxations for anxiety:

Progressive Muscle Relaxation 1

Progressive Muscle Relaxation 2

Progressive Muscle Relaxation 3

How Often To Do Progressive Muscle Relaxation For Anxiety

It is a good idea to practice consistently, a few times a week, that way you will develop the skill and be able to use this technique any time you want to feel more relaxed.


All of these guided progressive muscle relaxations, plus many more, are included in the Pocketcoach app, where we have a variety of courses to help you with anxiety and stress. If you enjoyed this relaxation, you may also want to check out some of our other articles on mindfulness, pranayama breathing and loving kindness meditation.


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