News April 16, 2024

April is Stress Awareness Month

In today’s fast-paced world, stress has become a common companion for many individuals. While some stress is natural, excessive stress can take a toll on both mental and physical health.  

April is Stress Reduction Month — a timely reminder of the importance of prioritizing mental and emotional well-being in our daily lives. This month, we’re exploring a proven technique that can make a profound difference in reducing stress and tension: Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR).

What is PMR?

PMR is a relaxation technique developed by American physician Edmund Jacobson in the early 20th century. It involves systematically tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups in the body. By doing so, PMR helps to release physical tension, alleviating stress.

How does PMR work?

The premise of PMR is simple yet effective. By tensing specific muscle groups for a few seconds and then releasing them, you become more aware of the physical sensations associated with tension and stress. This heightened awareness allows you to consciously release tension from your body, leading to a state of profound relaxation.

Benefits of PMR:

Stress reduction: PMR is highly effective in reducing both physical and mental stress. By systematically relaxing the body, individuals can alleviate tension and promote a sense of calmness. 

Improved sleep: Many individuals find that practicing PMR before bedtime helps to induce relaxation, leading to improved sleep quality. 

Enhanced well-being: Regular practice of PMR can contribute to overall well-being by promoting relaxation, reducing muscle tension, and increasing body awareness.

How to practice PMR:

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down. 
  • Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to center yourself. 
  • Begin by focusing on your breathing, allowing it to become slow and steady. 
  • Start with either your hands or feet. Clench the muscles in that area tightly for 5-10 seconds, then release and let the tension melt away. 
  • Continue this process, moving systematically through different muscle groups in your body, such as your arms, shoulders, chest, abdomen, back and legs. 
  • Take your time and pay attention to the sensations of tension and relaxation in each muscle group. 
  • Once you’ve completed the sequence, take a few moments to enjoy the feeling of relaxation throughout your body.

A comprehensive group benefits plan is a great tool for supporting an organization’s employees to help reduce their stress. For information on whole-health solutions for workplaces, reach out to your Account Executive today

Kirsten Nunez (Aug. 10, 2020). The Benefits of Progressive Muscle Relaxation and How to Do It. Reviewed by Gregory Minnis, DPT, Physical Therapy.