Progressive muscle relaxation reduces anxiety by alternately tensing or relaxing muscles. Edmund Jacobson an American physician created it in the early 1920s. Jacobson believed muscle tension was a common symptom of anxiety. He suggested that one could reduce anxiety by learning how relaxation can help.
For anyone with an eating disorder, tension and anxiety are common. You can reduce or eliminate your symptoms by practicing progressive muscle relaxation.
Progressive muscle relaxation has additional benefits for people with eating disorders Progressive Muskelentspannung.
Relaxing your body and mind
– Stopping the urge to binge or purge.
– Lowering headaches
Improvement of sleep
– Focus on the present moment, instead of dwelling on the past and future.
You’ll need to relax 16 muscles and tense your body. Some may require you to stretch your legs forward. This is why you’ll be most benefitted if your back doesn’t hurt. It is common for people to fall asleep if they lie down, but this does not serve the purpose. Your back should be straightened and supported by a chair or armchair.
Now take some deep, slow, deep breaths. Once you are done, relax.
Your body will relax as you relax. Next, clench both your fists, and pull your wrists in tighter. Continue to breathe. Feel the tension in the forearms. Now, relax. Allow your hands to relax and your forearms to feel loose. Take note of tension contrast.
Now bend your elbows. Keep your elbows bent and tighten your biceps. Now, let your arms relax. You’ll feel the difference between tension & relaxation.
Now, your focus should be on your forehead. Tighten your forehead as tightly as you can. You can feel the tension. Keep breathing. Feel the tension in you forehead and scalp. Now relax and smoothen it all. As if your entire forehead is now at ease, imagine your scalp becoming smooth.
Now, look down and notice how the strain is spreading to your forehead. Keep breathing and let go. Relax. Allow your brows to smoothen again.
Now close your eyes. Tighter. Keep breathing and relax your eyelids. Keep them closed gently and comfortably.
Now, expand your mouth. Feel the tension in your jaw. Now, relax you jaw. Relax your jaw and allow your lips to relax. The difference between relaxation and tension is obvious.
Now, press your tongue into the roof of you mouth. The sensation of a dull ache in your back is normal. Continue to breathe through you nose. Relax.
Now, pinch your lips and form an “O”. Now, relax the lips. Allow your forehead, scalp to relax, as well as your eyes, jaw, tongue and lips to relax. Give up more.
Then, gently roll your head back and forth around your neck. This will allow you to feel the tension shift. Now slowly turn your head to the opposite side. Keep breathing. Now, relax. Allow your head to return upright.
Now, shrug your shoulders. Lift your shoulders to your ears. You can hold it… Then, lower your shoulders to your ears and feel the relief spreading throughout your neck, throat, shoulder, and shoulders. Pure relaxation. You can feel it deeper and deeper. Now, let your shoulders relax and let it go. Feel relaxed in your shoulders.
Now inhale deeply, filling your lungs to the brim. Hold your breath. Feel the tension. Now relax and let your chest loosen. Again, try it. Take a deep breath, and then fill your lungs. You may feel tension in your chest. Now exhale. Relax. Continue to let your breath flow freely and slowly. Notice the tension releasing with each exhalation.
Next, relax your stomach and hold it. Feel the tension. Now relax. Now, rest your hands on top of your stomach. Relax and breathe in deeply. Now push your hand up towards your stomach. Hold. And then relax. Relax and feel the sensation of fresh air. Again. Place your palm on your stomach. Relax and take a deep inhale. Relax.
Do not strain your back. Remain as relaxed as you can. Now, focus on the tension in your lower spine. Relax. Relax.
Now, tighten both your buttocks & thighs. Relax and feel the tension… Relax and notice the difference. Try it again. Try to tighten your buttocks. You can tighten your abdominal muscles by holding them in place. Continue to breath, and feel the tension. Relax.
Straighten your legs by tensely contracting them. Now curl your toes toward the ceiling. Keep breathing. Let go of the tension. Relax. Continue to relax, tense and straighten your legs. This time, however, you should bend your fingers towards your face. Keep your toes pointed towards your face. Feel the tension by tightening your breathing. And then relax.
Breathe slowly and deeply to feel the warmth and heavyness of deep relaxation. As you move upwards through your body, you will feel even more relaxed. Begin by relaxing your feet. Relax your feet. Move up and relax your feet. Relax your calves. Relax your shins. Relax your knees. Relax all the way from your stomach down to your lower back. You can let go of more. Feel the deepening relaxation in your shoulders. Deeper, deeper. Notice the sensation of looseness, relaxation, and ease in your neck.