Keep Me Calm

Or: My Experience with Progressive Muscle Relaxation

My mind is a crazy place. It never stops, there´s just always something to worry about. Hence, why I have anxiety. It was always like this and in my teens I had trouble falling asleep, so my Dad recommended Autogenous Training. Well, that was a big flop. I didn´t really believe in how it would work and my limbs just failed to feel heavy. Years later, my therapist taught me Progressive Muscle Relaxation and it has changed my life.
PMR is based on a very simple principle (and one I can believe in): Contraction and relaxation of muscles. Completely relaxing all your muscles will lead to a relaxed bodily state while the constant and deep breathing will also calm your mind. Despite the complicated name it´s actually a very simple exercise to do every day. There are different routines that you can follow or you can make up your own. The longest forms take up to an hour and the shortest only about 15 minutes.


My therapist initially showed me a medium length routine to do when I feel anxious. If I do my routine before confronting myself with a anxious situation I feel more relaxed and my bodily symptoms of anxiety are not as strong or even gone completely. But for it to work properly in those situations you have to do it daily for a long time. This helps to reduce your myotonus (aka muscle tonus) as well which will make you feel more calmer all around. Your muscles are just constantly more relaxed and it takes a lot more to create tension.

When I first started PMR I was in the middle of my exam period and the daily exercise felt so good. I did this every day around lunchtime and besides feeling really relaxed and having a clearer mind after, I also felt awake again. It was like my own personal power nap. Right before my exams my anxiety didn´t feel that much better but I did not experience my usual bodily symptoms (I did PMR about 1.5 hours before every exam). Additionally, the most amazing thing happened: I could feel my limps growing heavier during my routine.


PMR has eased many anxious situations since then, like my first day at my internship or the first time going into a room full of people aka a theatre. It has also helped me fall asleep on several otherwise sleepless nights. I don´t feel the immediate results anymore, mostly because right now I´m not really feeling stressed in my daily life. However, it still feels really good to spend some me-time doing my routine and knowing that I´m doing my body and mind a favour. After now 4 months I´ve gone down to doing my routine 5 days a week. I do struggle sometimes because I don´t see any direct benefits anymore but I´m pushing through this as I know that only this way it´ll help in situations when I need it. In general, I feel like my mind has strengthened and that I can relax easier when I need or want to. I´ve also become more sensitive to when my body is tensed.

I know it´s very hard to imagine what PMR actually looks like and what you actually do. I´ve linked a few routines at the end of this post that I found on Youtube. If you want to try it out, you can either follow one of them or search for more on the internet. There are also some really great audiobooks with PMR routines. The only important thing for starting out is that you follow the same routine and really do it daily for a while. Besides feeling relaxed directly afterwards, you won´t see any immediate results.

If you´re struggling with sleep, anxiety or just a generally busy mind, this is honestly such a great exercise. I´ve gotten a few weird looks when I told people that I´m doing PMR but it has really worked for me. People are different and maybe this is not the perfect relaxation exercise for you but it´s definitely worth giving it a try. Especially because you can easily adapt it to your needs by finding the routine that targets your important muscle groups and that has the perfect length for you.

What is something that really relaxes you?

5-Minute short PMR with music
medium length PMR with music
long PMR without music

8 comments

  1. i can completely relate to having a busy mind, i overthink everything and i like to joke that me being alone with my thoughts is never a good idea. never heard of PMR but i'm glad it has worked for you :)

    Aditi | https://lifeasaditi.wordpress.com

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    1. Thank you. I joke about that too, a lot actually! But it´s honestly so true. I get easily caught up in my own worries, so PMR is sorting that out a bit.
      xx Lisa

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  2. My counsellor kept mentioning PMR to me and I do really want to give it a go if my anxiety ever comes back really badly again, it sounds like it has really helped you!

    The Velvet Black | UK Style & Beauty Blog

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    1. I´m so with your counsellor on this! PMR has really helped me a lot and I can handle my anxiety better now. I´d suggest starting now though because it takes a while to actually work on your anxiety.
      xx Lisa

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  3. Thank you so much for this great post. It's important to relax and stay calm when we are always busy and axious about our life, work, school and more :) I wish you a wonderful week xx

    aishettina.blogspot.it

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    1. Thank you for leaving me this nice comment! I think that too. We all need relaxation and stupidly, I forgot that for a while.
      xx Lisa

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  4. I've tried progress muscle relaxation and it is one of the greatest things ever. It helps me to control my anxiety when it gets so bad at home, so I'm trying to make sure I use it on a regular basis!
    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan | Instagram | BlogLovin | Twitter| Facebook

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    1. Thank you, same goes for me. I was very skeptical when I first tried it but it´s so amazing & it has really helped with my anxiety.
      xx Lisa

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If you enjoyed my little ramble, why don´t you leave me a comment with your thoughts on it? Every little comment makes me really happy and I will try to reply to all of you.