ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Relax From Head to Toe with Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Updated on September 16, 2012

Do you feel stressed out?

Are your muscles always tight, sore or achy? Do you get tension headaches? Do you have anxiety? Do people tell you that you are too uptight? Perhaps you need some time to yourself, to relax.

Progressive muscle relaxation is one way to relax yourself from head to toe. The technique is simple to learn. You focus on a muscle group for a few seconds, tense it as hard as you can (but not to the point of pain) and release it quickly to feel the difference.

It sounds weird at first, tense a muscle up in order to relax it. Doesn't tensing a muscle make it, well, more tense? But the idea is you tighten up, feel, feel, feel the tension and then let it go. The tension evaporates. The result is a calmer, more relaxed body and a quieter mind. Once you try it you will want to do it again and again.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique

Spend a few minutes getting yourself comfortable. I like to do this lying down flat on my back on the floor. You can also do it on a chair as long as you are fully supported. You will be a ragdoll when you are finished this so you want to make sure you are in a place where you can just melt away.

Now take a few deep breaths.

  • Tighten your toes, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, then release. Let go. Feel how relaxed your toes feel.

Tighten each muscle group for 7-10 seconds and relax it for around 30 seconds.

  • Flex your toes and squeeze your calf muscles... and release.
  • Clench your thigh muscles... and release.
  • Squeeze your butt... and release.

Feel how relaxed your lower half feels and make sure no tension has crept back in.

  • Arch your lower back... release. Be gentle here, especially if you have pain.
  • Suck in your stomach... release.
  • Tighten your chest by taking a deep breath and holding it... release.
  • Shrug your shoulders up to your ears... release.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together...release.

We are getting into areas that tend to carry a lot of tension. You may repeat the hold and release once if the muscle still feels tight.

  • Clench your hands into fists...¬†release.
  • Flex your biceps... release.
  • Touch your chin to your chest... release.

Feel how relaxed you are from the neck down.

  • ¬†Shut your eyes tightly... release.
  • Raise your eyebrows and wrinkle your forehead... release.
  • Grin widely... release.
  • Open your mouth as wide as you can... release. Allow your lips to remain parted and your jaw to hang loose.

Now, just breathe. Tune into how relaxed you feel all over. Scan your body for any little bit of remaining tension and let it go.

Breathe and relax for as long as you like.

Give it a try!


This feels good and is really, really good for you. It will reduce muscle tension and general anxiety. It's great if you can take a break during the day and practice this technique. It will help to clear your mind. It will give your body a chance to recover from the effects of stress. You will come out of it better able to deal with problems, issues and annoyances.

It is also a great thing to practice in bed right as you are trying to fall asleep. You are lying there anyway! If worries tend to creep in at nighttime. you can push then aside and focus on how relaxed your body is feeling. A wonderful way to fall asleep, your sleep will be deeper and sounder.

Progressive muscle relaxation can reveal to you tensions you didn't know you had. I never realized how much tension I carried in my jaw, forehead or around my eyes until I specifically focused on these tiny muscle groups. I was always talking about my aching neck or the pain in my lower back. No wonder I had headaches! It's all connected, pain in one area can spread to other areas. So can relaxation.

So try it! You can try a video or audio cassette to learn the technique. Once you learn it, it is pretty easy to remember. You can work the muscles in the order I've written, or go head to toe, or any way you want. If you don't feel comfortable tightening the muscles, you can just focus on relaxing each one. This is called passive muscle relaxation, and it works too.

So take a little time for yourself and relax!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)