Exercise 2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

Description: If stress seems to affect your body, and you hold tension in your muscles, PMR  might be an effective way for you to signal to your brain that your body is relaxed so that your brain can turn off its stress response.  Tensing and releasing your muscles is like stretching and then letting go of a rubber band:  while the rubber band is taut before, it is loose and floppy once you let go. It is progressive because you will be moving from the bottom of your body up to your head.


  1. Take a deep breath and let it go.
  2. Tense all the muscles in your feet (curl your toes under) for about 5 seconds.
  3. Let the muscles go, and, for a few seconds, just focus on the relaxing sensations in your feet.
  4. Take a deep breath, and move on to the next muscle group, your lower legs/calves.
  5. Repeat instructions for all these groups
    1. Feet
    2. Lower legs/calves
    3. Upper legs/thighs
    4. Buttocks and hips
    5. Abdominals
    6. Shoulders
    7. Upper arms
    8. Lower arms
    9. Hands/fists
    10. Neck/upper back
    11. Face

Audio-Guided Instruction (10:39)