There are two basic steps for performing progressive muscle relaxation, deliberately tensing the major muscle groups of the body one at a time, and then relaxing them. The muscle groups are targeted in a systematic manner, either starting from the legs and working up to the head, or the other way around.
- Pick a comfortable position
The first step of PMR is to pick a suitable position that comforts the entire body. It can be achieved by either sitting in a comfortable chair or lying down. Take off shoes, and wear loose clothing. Pick a quiet place without any noise or disturbance.
- Tense the muscle groups
Either starting from the legs and working upwards to the head or the other way around, focus on the major muscle groups one at a time. Tense the targeted muscle group, and hold that muscle in the tensed state for five to eight seconds.
- Relax the muscles
After tensing a muscle for five to eight seconds, release the tension, and let the muscle relax for 15 seconds. If deemed necessary, tense and relax a muscle several times to increase the sensation of relaxation.
- Work throughout the entire body
Target one muscle group of the body at a time, and then move on to the next muscle group. Tense and relax all the major muscle groups of the body. Once satisfied with the completion of the process, relax for a few seconds with the eyes closed, and get up slowly.