Counseling Center

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

 Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is another direct way to address the fight/flight/freeze symptoms. And remember that by addressing the physical symptoms directly you are freeing up mental energy to address other symptoms.

PMR is an exercise that reduces stress and anxiety in your body by having you slowly tense and then relax each muscle. The theory behind this exercise is that you cannot have the feeling of relaxation and warm well-being in your body and at the same time experience anxiety symptoms. With practice, you will become more aware of when you are experiencing tension and you will have the skills to help you relax.

During this exercise each muscle should be tensed, but not to the point of strain. Pay special attention to the feeling of tension in each muscle and the feeling of relaxation as you release the tension. If you have any injuries or pain, you can skip the affected areas. Click on the video below to follow along with this exercise.

Consider: During the exercise where did you feel the most tension? Where did it feel the best to let the tension go?

This is the second relaxation exercise we’ve done. There are other relaxation strategies listed here and here. You’ll find that you like some more than others. Keep practicing to find the one that best fits your style.


Last Updated: 6/27/22