Wellness Pathway #189 Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Developed by Edmund Jacobson in the 1920s and 1930s, progressive muscle relaxation can be made a regular part of your daily routine. It involves the progressive tensing and relaxing of different muscle groups. When done systematically, from head to toe, it can lower blood pressure, relieve stress, and increase awareness. It’s a particularly good exercise to practice before you go to sleep at night, as a way of unwinding from your day, and before you eat, as a way of slowing down, eating less, and enjoying your food more.

Perhaps the simplest demonstration of this technique is to clench your fist for 5 seconds and relax. Practice until you can tense your fist, and only your fist — not your arm or shoulder as well. To do this, focus your attention on your hand before you clench your fist. Then inhale and squeeze tight, even to the point of trembling, while you count to five. Finally, exhale and relax, feeling the tingle and the gentle opening of your hand. Wait 15 seconds until your hand becomes loose and limp. Repeat the procedure, with the same hand.

This procedure can be progressively applied to every muscle group in the body. It’s fun to focus on muscle groups that are harder to control than your fist. Try your calf muscles, for example, or the muscles in your lower back. Work your awareness around your body: hands, arms, shoulders; feet, calves, thighs; bottom, stomach, lower back; chest, neck, jaw; eyes, ears, and face. In time, this simple technique can make a huge difference in your health and approach to life.

Coaching Inquiries: Do you have a daily relaxation practice? Would you like to incorporate progressive muscle relaxation into the practice? What would be the best time of day for you to try this?

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May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
2010-2011 President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

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