Developed in the 1930’s, progressive relaxation uses the mind to overcome tense muscles. Here’s how to do it:
First, find a quiet place to sit or lie down. Close your eyes and begin by making tight fists with your hands. Hold for five seconds, then relax, paying close attention to the draining of tension. Do this three times, noting the contrast between tension and relaxation.
Next, repeat this sequence with various muscle groups: arms, forehead, mouth, shoulders, chest, abdomen, back, hips, thighs, lower legs, and feet. Try to limit each stretch to that particular muscle group. Concentrate on the pleasurable feeling of release as you let go of the flex.
At first it may take you 15 minutes or more to go through the routine. But once you become proficient, you can use it as needed, completing the routine in five minutes.