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Learn How to Use Progressive Muscle Relaxation to Relieve Anxiety

Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and stressed? Do you ever lie awake in bed at night without being able to fall asleep? Have you ever had a headache that just won’t go away or an aching pain in your neck or back? This pain can be a result of stress or anxiety that you are experiencing in your life. People’s bodies often respond to stress and anxiety with muscle tension.

Learning to use effective relaxation techniques can greatly reduce your level of stress and anxiety and in turn boost your mental and physical well being. As a therapist and counselor I am constantly trying to find effective and easy to use techniques for my clients to beat their stress. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) produces excellent results and is highly effective in the reduction of stress and anxiety. It is an easy and natural way to help you relax.

To begin PMR, find a quiet location and assume a comfortable position, you can either lie down or sit. Many people find that also closing their eyes helps increase the state of relaxation during the process. Tense one isolated muscle group of your body firmly for 10 seconds and then release suddenly. The muscle groups you could work on include your: forehead, eyes, nose, jaw, neck, shoulders, chest, biceps, triceps, fists, fingers, abdomen, buttocks, thighs, calves, ankles and toes. Only tense one area at a time. After tensing the area give yourself about 15 seconds to relax and take a deep breath to notice how the each area feels relaxed in contrast to how it felt when you were tensing it. During this time of relaxation you may state to yourself, “I am letting go,” or “I feel tension flow away”. Once that is complete move on to the next muscle group and continue until you have completed a tense and release cycle with each muscle group of your body. During the process try to remain in the present moment and focus on the muscle area you are working on. If your mind wanders, bring it back to that muscle group.

At the end of the process perform a mental scan of your body becoming aware of any residual tension in a specific area, and then repeat the exercise two or three times for that particular muscle group. To obtain the best results from PMR, practicing it on a daily basis is essential. Practicing at regular times, such as before you go to bed or when you wake up helps create a routine which will make it easier to maintain. As a therapist and counselor I stress to my clients that adopting a regular routine of PMR will have you feeling less anxiety and stress allowing you to experience more calm and relaxation in your everyday life.


Roberta Alves is a therapist and counselor at the Essence of Healing Counseling with locations in Ft. Lauderdale and Coral Gables. She is a Certified Anxiety Specialist and has a high success rate with eliminating anxiety from her clients’ lives. She uses a scientifically and research based type of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which has been proven to be extremely effective in treating anxiety. Roberta is truly passionate about the work she does and loves serving her clients in the Coral Gables, Miami, and Ft. Lauderdale areas.

4601 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Suite # 260, Coral Gables, FL 33146

333 N New River Drive East, Suite # 2000, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301

Phone: 954-393-2930