About progressive muscle relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation will help you recognise the difference between tension and relaxation in each of the major muscle groups. Being able to distinguish between tense and relaxed state is important. It helps you drain the tension from your muscles and identify trouble spots which you can pay more attention to in the future. You will also be able to bring your muscles to a deeper state of relaxation.
Give yourself one to two weeks time to practise. Your goal should be to relax your entire body in about twenty minutes
Guidelines for practice
- Allow yourself sufficient time in a quiet space to practice.
- Don't rush yourself.
- Practice regularly.
If you have a tendency to dissociate (e.g. feel like you are not in your body), have a history of childhood abuse/trauma, and/or experience psychosis, it is strongly recommended that you do not use this relaxation exercise except with the assistance of a mental health professional.
Progressive muscle relaxation for couples or close friends
This exercise is a variation of the progressive muscle relaxation exercise and is designed to enable one member of a couple, or a close friend, to assist the other to relax and let go of body tension, trusting in their care.
This exercise can be a positive calming influence within a relationship or friendship, particularly if one person is feeling very stressed, and their partner or friend is becoming concerned, and has been asked to assist. Sometimes talking through difficulties helps; sometimes going out and having fun together can relieve stress, and sometimes setting up a daily relaxation regimen may be as important. This exercise is about trusting and caring, and should only be done with a partner or close friend who is a willing and respectful participant.
During the relaxation exercise one partner, known as Facilitator, will touch a muscle group belonging to the other partner, known as Recipient, when Recipient inhales slowly and deeply. Simultaneously Recipient will tighten that muscle group on the inhalation, and then let go of the tension on the exhalation. Facilitator gently removes his or her hands as Recipient exhales. With each breath Facilitator touches a set of muscles moving from toes towards the head. Recipient tenses the touched muscles on the inhalation and releases them on the exhalation.
You will require a carpeted floor large enough for one person to lie down, and the other to move around their body. You will also need two pillows.
Listen to the download instructions together first, and then again as you carry out the process. Repeat about three times a week.
Guidelines for practice
- Give yourself a comfortable space where you will not be interrupted.
- Allow yourself to experience.
If you have a tendency to dissociate (e.g. feel like you are not in your body), have a history of childhood abuse/trauma, and/or experience psychosis, it is strongly recommended that you do not use this visualisation exercise except with the assistance of a mental health professional.
If you'd like more support, come along to one of our workshops or make an appointment for individual counselling.