Making Self Care a Lifestyle: Progressive Muscle Relaxation

This weekly blog series offers a collection of diverse and effective coping techniques that can reduce stress, improve mental and emotional well-being, and perhaps make you even more effective in achieving your individual goals. Check back every Monday morning for the newest skill of the week.


“When you engage your muscle groups one-by-one you trigger your parasympathetic nervous system response to take over and this effectively “turns off” your stress response.”
 ~ Milissa Peifer, Certified Neurofeedback Trainer

Sit in a comfortable position with your feet resting on the floor. Begin deep breathing for a moment and mentally scan your body for tension.

You will tense and release each of your individual muscle groups one by one while you continue to breathe deeply. Starting with your lower body, contract or tense the muscles in your feet to the point of feeling pressure but not pain. Remain tensed for about five seconds before releasing the tension in your feet and resume deep breathing as your muscles relax. Repeat this process two or three times with just your feet before moving on to a different muscle group. 

After your feet, tense your calf muscles in the same fashion. After a few repetitions, continue the tensing and releasing process with your thighs, then move through your torso, then arms/shoulders and so on through the rest of your body slowly moving upward until you reach your head. Do a final body scan for any remaining tension, and allow yourself to enjoy the deep relaxation you have induced.


Learn more about the therapists at The Catalyst Center

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