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Grounding technique: Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

We physically hold our emotions in our bodies. With emotions like anxiety, stress, worry, fear, panic, anger in particular; we can often “tense up” without realising it and then may experience muscle aches, pains and tension. Progressive muscle relaxation helps to reduce muscle tension…you may also be surprised where you hold tension when you try a full body scan of this.

 Words in images:

How to:
1. Begin by slowing down your breathing and giving yourself permission to relax.

 2. Tense each muscle group (see next 2 images) for about 5 seconds (but without straining), and then suddenly release the tension and feel the muscle relax.

3. Keep the muscles relaxed for approximately 10 seconds before moving onto the next body part to repeat the process.

4. When you have finished the relaxation procedure, remain seated for a few moments and notice your physical body.


Toes – Curl your toes inwards.

Feet – Press your feet into the ground.

Lower leg – Point toes up towards the body to stretch calf muscle.

Upper leg – Tighten/squeeze your thighs.

Hips/buttocks – Squeeze the buttock muscles.

Stomach/chest – Breathe in deeply, filling your stomach/chest/lungs with air.

Shoulder blades/back – Push your shoulder blades as if trying to almost touch them together.

Shoulders – Raise up towards your ears.

Neck – Carefully raise your chin to look to the ceiling or lower chin to chest to look towards the ground.

Hands/forearms – Make a fist.

Upper arms – Curl bicep.

Mouth/jaw – Open mouth wide.

Eye/cheeks – Squeeze eyes shut.

Forehead – Raise eyebrows.


o Don’t tighten any places where you have injuries and be cautious with certain areas e.g. neck (avoid slingshot effect). It can be useful to consult a physician for any injuries.

o There are several free guided audios available online.

o Vary the amount of seconds you hold each body part to suit you.

o Although it can be useful to try in a relaxing environment where you won’t be disturbed, this can be done anywhere in any moment without anyone noticing.

o  This can be done sitting, lying down, standing up.

o You can focus on one area of tension and repeat as opposed to the entire body.

o  The muscles are tensed but not to the point of strain. Remember, this is a relaxation technique.

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