Stress has a far-reaching impact on an individual. American Psychological Association states that 63% of the population worry about the future of the nation and 62% about money. Besides, 61% worry about work, 57% of the political climate and 51% about violence/crime. With such alarming statistics, there are chances of affecting the quality of life. A person with high-stress levels might encounter backache or pain in the neck. Moreover, anxiety and stress lead to muscle tension. But managing stress is easy by practicing progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). Progressive muscle relaxation is a great technique that involves relieving the tension. And in such crucial times, PMR is the need of the hour for managing stress. So, let’s explore more about PMR and its benefits.
What is Progressive Muscle Relaxation?
American physician Edmund Jacobson developed PMR. PMR is all about tense and relaxation of muscle groups. As you breathe in, tense your muscle groups and as you breathe out, you let them relax. Once your body starts getting relaxed, you start feeling less anxious. A study highlights that PMR helps in improving anxiety and depression.
Steps to Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Before you start PMR, make sure to choose a place where there’ll be no one to disturb you. The place should be comfortable so that you can lie down and stretch your body.
- Start by breathing in and tensing the first muscle group (could be thighs or left hand) for about 5-10 seconds.
- Then exhale and relieve the tension on the muscle group. Remember to not relax gradually.
- Give your body about 10-20 seconds to relax before moving on to the next muscle group.
- While undertaking relaxation training, notice the changes in your muscle. Try and understand the feeling when they are tensed and when they are relaxed.
- Once done with all muscle groups, then start counting backward from 5 to 1. This helps in bringing your focus back to the starting point.
- If you have any muscle group with extreme tension. Then you can practice tense and relax on that specific muscle group instead of all!
- During this exercise, it is a good practice to work on all the major muscle groups in your body. So, start with your feet and move upwards till the forehead. You may also reverse the order starting from the forehead.
3 Benefits of Using Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Sleep is very important to waive off stress and lead a healthy life. But with a hectic lifestyle and various challenges, sleep takes a backfoot. Thus, resulting in various illnesses. But PMR is a boon to enjoy that 8-hour sound sleep.
Good sleep is very important to maintain the quality of life. But for some, falling asleep is next to impossible. And this condition leads to insomnia. A study highlights that 70% of adults in America have insufficient sleep at least one night a month. It also adds that about 11% report insufficient sleep every night. The sleep-related problem affects about 50-70 million Americans of all age groups and socioeconomic classes. And in such a situation, progressive muscle relaxation comes to the rescue. It is a proven fact that relaxation technique is a great way to wipeout insomnia. PMR helps people to fall asleep quickly and helps in sleeping a bit longer. Sleep meditation could help as well.
2) Lowers blood pressure
High blood pressure causes a great impact, sometimes leading to death. So, it’s best to take precautionary steps by practicing PMR.
High blood pressure also known as hypertension and a ‘silent killer’ is very common. High blood pressure has no initial symptoms but has far-reaching effects. If left untreated this disease can lead to a series of complications. Heart attack, kidney failure, heart failure, stroke, are some of the ill-effects that happen to your organs. Also, high blood pressure is killing around 7.5 million people worldwide every year. So, along with medications, it is important to relax your body. And in such peril times, PMR helps inevitably.PMR is a technique that lowers patients’ stress and enhances their health. With PMR, there is an improvement in the quality of life, thus helping him/her lead a healthy life.
3) Promotes Digestion
Stress can lead to inflammation, gastric problems, and even irritable bowel syndrome. Fortunately, PMR plays a vital role in elevating stress. Not just stress, it also maintains your digestive health.
Are you facing digestion problems? Or feeling knots in the stomach while making an important decision? Despite medications and proper health information, you are unable to get a cure? Then this situation is ‘stress-induced’. Emotions have a far-reaching effect on your body and one of them is stress. When there is stress, your digestive system may become vulnerable. This is because your brain and digestive system interact with each other. And this connection is prominently called “gut-brain connection”. A disturbance in this connection may aggravate health issues. But progressive muscle relaxation helps in reducing the body’s reaction to stress. It helps in calming the body and mind, thus promoting healing. Relaxation helps the brain to release endorphins – the natural painkiller of the body.
Though you are not feeling anxious, it’s good to practice PMR regularly. It will help you relax effectively, when in stress. It might become tedious sometimes, but it will help you manage anxiety in your daily life.
Indeed, progressive muscle relaxation is an excellent tool. It helps in knowing more about your body and acknowledging the signals your body gives. Systematic reviews have highlighted that PMR helped patients suffering from cancer and schizophrenia. So, start to benefit your body with this technique and let us know how you felt!
Neelambari started her rollercoaster ride as a journalist at Pune Mirror (Times Group). After which she started exploring the world of content writing. Today, she boasts more than five years of experience filled with creativity and diversity. During this tenure, she explored various mediums like articles, blogs, social media posts, website content, and much more. And this content ranged from Gynecology, Ayurveda, Dental health to nutrition. However, she enjoys the most writing about Psychology and other medical streams. She loves writing and aims to bring positive changes at least in some lives with her articles on www.themindfool.com