This exercise is a progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) and should take about 20 minutes to complete.
This exercise will instruct you to tense and relax the major muscle groups in your body so you can become practiced in creating for yourself true physical relaxation. PMR works on the principle that one cannot be stressed or anxious while completely physically relaxed. Using this exercise at any time will allow you to experience total relaxation. Taking the time to practice this exercise consistently and at least daily can be beneficial. In a matter of weeks you should be able to command your whole body to become stress free by eliciting the relaxation response by simple self-instruction.
Before you begin listening, you are encouraged to lie on your back with your hands at your side. You should be wearing non-restrictive clothing, and have your shoes off. Shut your eyes, but try hard to remain awake throughout. Though PMR is useful to combat the stresses and strains throughout your day, it can be used to help you fall asleep at night. Note that this exercise does require the lifting of your legs and the tensing of muscles, so if you have preexisting back problems, please consult with your physician before engaging in PMR.