Of all the strategies that seek to reduce the physical impact of stress, Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation technique is one of the most effective. If we always practice it, it will become an excellent tool to gradually suppress all muscle tension.
A curious aspect of this technique, conceived by Edumund Jacobson in 1920, is that after we learn how to use it, it turns into a wonderful “pocket” resource, a tool that we can all perform at a given moment to achieve calm in a situation. stressful.
Common situations, such as facing an exam, a conference or a job interview, almost always tend to generate that alarming muscle tension on the part of the brain, together with which muscle tension, abdominal pain, tremors, dryness also appear immediately. of the mouth and those intrusive thoughts capable of taking away the power and effectiveness in the moment of carrying out any task.
Jacobson’s progressive relaxation allows us to focus all our attention on a series of muscular exercises that, little by little, relieve tension and above all, distance us from those destructive ideas that cause us discomfort and make us defenseless.
Below, we explain how to apply it in your daily life.
Jacobson’s Progressive Relaxation and its Relation to Therapy
We have all gone through a recurring stressful situation or are currently going through a period of continuous and persistent anxiety. The good news is that you will learn to get rid of it, the less positive is that you will have to be constant in applying the technique. Before we dive into the matter, let’s give you three basic points to keep in mind.
- People suffering from intense stress have an overactive mind.
- Thoughts cannot always be controlled, and consequently, neither can one’s behavior.
- Slowly, and almost without realizing it, we enter a vicious circle characterized by physical and mental exhaustion, emotional block, bad mood, anxiety and inability to solve problems.
Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation technique as a pre-therapeutic strategy
Let’s take an example to understand the usefulness of Jacobson’s progressive relaxation. Michele is a neurologist, an excellent professional who suffers from anxiety attacks whenever he takes part in conferences or congresses where he is forced to speak in public.
- The therapist he consulted taught him to practice Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation to deal with this paralysis during emotional high-intensity situations that completely block him.
- This technique is nothing more than a pre-therapeutic strategy, in fact only after the person has reached the appropriate state of calm, the therapist can, a posteriori, start a psychological therapy with which to offer the subject the most suitable strategies for managing the fear, self-confidence and oratory …
As we can imagine, therefore, the strategy created by Edmund Jacobson allows us to reach a state of mental calm through muscle relaxation. Once we have achieved that internal balance, it will be time to restructure our thoughts, change our focus and free ourselves from our fears.
How to apply Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation
In addition to being a fantastic strategy for channeling anxiety and reducing stress, Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation has several health benefits : it reduces blood pressure, promotes deep and restorative rest, reduces seizures in epileptic people, etc.
At this point, there is an aspect that should be clear: this technique requires a series of tests before being really effective . Its benefits will be more and more immediate and effective as we put it into practice. Below, we explain how to do it.
The first thing to do is find a comfortable position, take off your shoes and make sure your clothes don’t tighten. Extend your arms, place your hands on your knees and begin this simple relaxation sequence.
- Hands: Close your hands and hold them tight until you feel the tension. Maintain this position for 10 seconds, then, little by little, release your fingers one by one, feeling the relaxation.
- Shoulders: it is very simple, what we are going to do in this case is to raise the shoulders gently upwards, towards the ears. Feel the tension for a few moments, hold the position for 5 seconds and then release them and feel the sense of relief and rest. Repeat 5 times.
- Neck: then you will bring your chin towards your chest for a few seconds, then relax.
- Mouth: Now, we will open our mouth and stretch our tongue as much as possible for 10 seconds. After, relax it. Subsequently, instead of pulling out the tongue again, we will bring it towards the palate; feel the tension and relax.
- Breathing: We continue our relaxation technique with a simple breathing exercise. Inhale for 5 seconds, hold the air for 6 seconds and exhale for 7 seconds. It is very easy .
- Shoulders: with the shoulders resting against the back of the chair, we tilt the body forward a little, so that the shoulders are curved, we hold the position for 10 seconds and then, let’s relax.
- Feet: We finish our sequence by focusing our attention on the feet. Stretch your fingers as if trying to get on tiptoe. Hold and notice the tension for 10 seconds, then let go and feel the relaxation.
In conclusion, it is necessary to practice this simple sequence every day, looking for a moment of calm and solitude to promote adequate muscle relaxation. In this way, we will be able to connect to our mind to calm it, relax it and become aware of our here and now, of our present needs. Progressive muscle relaxation works and can become your best strategy for dealing with any stressful situation.