A Muscle Relaxation Session For Tension And Anxiety

March 2, 2014

Let’s get right to it!


You will need a quiet place and time, and somewhere to sit.

First, practice slow breathing for a few minutes. As you breathe out imagine the tension flowing out of your body.

Second, try to think only about what you are doing. If worries drift into your mind while you are relaxing, don’t try to
stop them, just let them float gently across and out of your mind without reacting to them.

Third, relax the muscles of your body, as listed below. Do this by tensing them for 7–10 seconds, then relax them for 10 seconds.
Don’t tense the muscles so hard it hurts, and don’t try to relax — just stop tensing and let the muscles relax themselves.
The order of relaxing is: hands, head, body, legs, just like this:

1. Hands: Clench one fist, then relax. Then do the other hand.
2. Lower arms: Bend your hands down at the wrist, as if trying to touch the underside of your arms, then relax.
3. Upper arms: Bend your elbows and tense your arms. Feel the tension in your upper arms, then relax.
4. Shoulders: Lift your shoulders up as if trying to touch your ears with them, then relax.
5. Neck: Stretch your neck gently to the left, then let your head fall forward, then stretch it to the right, in a slow rolling motion, then relax.
6. Forehead: Raise your eyebrows, then relax.
7. Eyes: Screw up your eyes, then relax.relaxation against anxiety
8. Jaw: Clench your teeth (just to tighten the muscles), then relax.
9. Tongue: Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then relax.
10. Chest: Breathe in deeply, hold it, then breath out and relax.
11. Stomach: Push your tummy in to tighten the muscle, then relax.
12. Upper back: Pull your shoulders forward with your arms at your side, then relax.
13. Lower back: Lean your head and upper back forward, curving your back and tensing the lower back, then relax.
14. Buttocks: Tighten your buttocks, then relax.
15. Thighs: Push your feet firmly into the floor, then relax.
16. Calves: Lift your toes off the ground, then relax.
17. Feet: Gently curl your toes down so that they are pressing into the floor, then relax.

Take some slow breaths while you sit still for a few minutes enjoying the feeling of relaxation. At other times, try relaxing muscles when
you notice they are tense.

The best time to use relaxation techniques such as this is during the times you feel least anxious. See if mornings, afternoons, or evenings are the best time for you to implement such relaxation techniques, and do it consistently.

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2 comments on “A Muscle Relaxation Session For Tension And Anxiety

  1. Agreed, use or practice this during times one feels less anxious. And on an (unsolicited) personal note, I concur with your recommended approach; it works! – excepting the initial breathing step. I, for one (and I know many others) struggle with the breathing ‘thing.’ Too many try too hard, often when learning to practice meditation/mindfulness. If they do and become frustrated with trying, I often suggest they just find a way to simply ‘be’ with themselves and not try too hard to feel/experience their breathing.

    As I prefaced, two cents, unsolicited. 🙂

  2. I love how you mentioned try to hard Eric. This is so true, and was the case in my years with panic and anxiety as well. Anxious individuals seem to me extremely fed up with their condition and want to find a quick solution (can I blame them?). But as you mentioned and like anything, proper breathing is a skill that needs to be developed like any other skill…