PROGRESSIVE NEUROMUSCULAR RELAXATION (PNR)
Remember to breathe diaphragmatically throughout this exercise. Stop if you feel pain.
1. Select a comfortable sitting or reclining position. Loosen tight clothing.
2. Point your toes and then flex your feet upward. Hold, study, and relax.
3. Tense your lower legs, knees and thighs. Pull knees to your chest. Hold, study, relax.
4. Tense your lower back, buttocks, stomach and pelvic area. Hold, study, and relax.
5. Tense your lower arms, elbows, and upper arms. Tense your fingers and hands. Make a fist. Expand your fingers. Hold, study, and relax.
6. Sit straight in your chair. Lift your hands above your body as though touching the ceiling, stretching your back. Do the same, only pushing your hands to the sides, as though pressing apart two walls. Hold, study, and relax.
7. Tense the upper back. Hold, study, then relax. Hold your hands in front of you and pull. Then push, hold, study, and relax.
8. Tense your chest. Hold, study, and relax. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly.
9. Now tense the neck, back, and front of your neck. Hold, study, and then relax.
10. If you don’t have neck and back problems, or get frequent headaches, press your hands across your forehead while pressing back with your head. Hold, study, relax.
11. Shrug, as though trying to touch your shoulders to your ears. Touch each ear to your shoulder. Hold and study the tension. Then relax.
12. Now tense your entire head. Make a grimace on your face so that you feel the tension in your facial muscles. Hold, study the tension, and then relax. Afterwards, open your eyes and mouth as wide as possible. Hold, study, and relax.
13. Now try to tense every muscle in your body. Hold it, study it, and then relax. Find any remaining tension, and target it with an extra exercise, if needed. Feed your body with several slow, deep diaphragmatic breaths, and enjoy the relaxation.
14. Continue sitting or reclining for a few minutes, feeling the relaxation flowing through your body. Know the difference between muscles that are tense and relaxed.
15. Now stretch. When you want to get up, count backward from four to one. You will feel relaxed, renewed and refreshed, wide awake and calm, and ready to continue your day.