Mindfulness Exercise 3: Progressive Muscle Relaxation (Springboard Beyond Cancer)

Mindfulness Exercise 3: Progressive Muscle Relaxation (Springboard Beyond Cancer)


[Music] Cancer and its treatment can
be stressful, but practicing mindfulness and
relaxation strategies can help. Let’s talk about a specific
relaxation strategy called Progressive Muscle Relaxation. Progressive Muscle Relaxation is
an exercise that relaxes your mind and body by progressively,
that is gradually tensing and relaxing muscle groups
throughout your entire body. You will intentionally tense
each muscle group, but without straining, and then
suddenly release the tension and feel the muscle relax. You will tense each
muscle for about 5 seconds. If you have any pain or
discomfort at any of the target muscle groups,
feel free to skip that step. Throughout this exercise,
you may visualize the muscles tensing and a wave of
relaxation flowing over them as you release that tension. It is important that you keep
breathing throughout the entire exercise. Now let’s begin. Start by finding a comfortable
position either sitting or lying down in a location where
you will not be interrupted. Allow yourself about 5–10
minutes for this exercise. Bring your attention to
focus only on your body. If you begin to notice your mind
wandering to other things, bring it back to the muscle
that you are working on. Take a deep breath, drawing
your inhale into your belly. Hold at the top,
and exhale slowly. Let’s do that again. Inhale for a count
of 4, 3, 2, 1. Exhale for a count
of 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. As you exhale, imagine this
tension in your body being released and flowing
out of your body. One more time,
inhale…and exhale. Feel your body already relaxing. As we go through
each muscle group, remember to keep breathing. Don’t hold your breath. Tighten the muscles in your
forehead by raising your eyebrows as high as you can. Hold for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Release. Feel tension in your
face fall away. Pause here and breathe. Next, pause and smile widely. Open up your cheeks, feel your mouth and
your cheeks tense. Make it really big. Hold for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Relax. Release the tension. Appreciate the
softness in your face. Next, tighten your eye muscles
by squinting your eyelids shut. Scrunch up your nose. Hold for 5, keep
holding, 4, 3, 2, 1. Release. Feel relaxed in
your entire face. Remember, if at any point
you begin to feel pain, relax or release the tension. Breathe in… and out. Let go of all the stress. In… and out. Now, tightly, but without
straining, clench your fists and hold this position
until I say to release. Squeeze your fingernails in. Hold for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Release. Now, flex your biceps. Curl your forearms towards
your shoulders, squeeze into your bicep, feel the
build-up of the tension. You may even
visualize that muscle tightening and shortening. Hold for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Relax. Enjoy the feeling of
limpness in your arms. Breathe in…and out. Tighten your triceps by
extending your arms out to the back, palms face forward. Lock out your elbows. Feel the backs of
your arms shortening. Hold for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Release. Pause and breathe. Now, lift your shoulders up as
if they could touch your ears. Curl everything up. Hold for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Quickly release, feeling
their heaviness pull down. Pause here and breathe. Tense your upper back by
pulling your shoulders back. Try to make your shoulder
blades touch behind you, opening your chest. Hold for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Release. Come back to your breath. Inhale… and exhale. Last one. For this exercise, curl your
toes down like you were trying to grab something with
your toes on the floor. Curl in and hold
for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Release. Sit comfortably for a few
rounds of inhales and exhales. Check back in with
how you feel now. Maybe a little bit lighter. Maybe a little bit more relaxed. Take time for mindful moments
and relaxation exercises. Check out our other videos
for more strategies, and manage cancer your
way with Springboard. [Springboard Beyond Cancer]

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