You might have noticed how difficult it is to “just relax” simply because you or someone else is telling you to.
During the progressive muscle relaxation exercise (a relaxation technique that was developed by American physician Edmund Jacobson in the 1920s) you breathe in to tense a muscle group and then releasing the very same muscle group on the outbreath. As doing so you experience clearly the difference between tense muscles (which are symptoms of stress) and relaxed muscles.
Benefits of progressive muscle relaxation:
-Better able to deal with the stress
-Reduces chronic pain and insomnia
-Decreases migraines and tension headaches
-Help you to identify signs of stress in your body
Jacobson, E. (1938). Progressive relaxation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Matsumoto, M., & Smith, J. C. (2001). Progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, and ABC relaxation theory. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 57, 1551-1557. doi:10.1002
McCallie, M. S., Blum, C. M., & Hood, C. J. (2006). Progressive muscle relaxation. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 13, 51-66. doi:10.1300.