Muscle relaxation exercise from Samaritans

Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and releasing pairs of muscles in sequence to help you visualise tension leaving your body. This can help reduce feelings of stress or anxiety. Follow along with this exercise provided by the Samaritans…

“You’ll need a quiet, private space for this to work well. Find somewhere to sit, with your feet planted shoulder width apart, flat on the ground. You might like to read through the steps of this simple technique first, then practise without any guidance, and you may want to use the breathing exercise before you use this one.

We’ll start with the muscles in your head. Tense your forehead muscles by raising your eyebrows and holding for up to 10 seconds. Then release, imagining tension leaving your body.

Repeat this, working down through pairs of muscles throughout your body. Try to tense them for up to 10 seconds before releasing.

When you’ve finished, don’t get up straight away. Stay where you are for a minute or so, then, when you do get up, do so slowly. You can practise this technique whenever you notice yourself becoming stressed or anxious.”


For more practical ways to help yourself cope during difficult periods, click here to access the dedicated Samaritans page.