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Progressive Muscle Relaxation (Edition 1)

Muscle tension is one reaction to stress and anxiety. This exercise includes instructions for Progressive Muscle Relaxation, a technique for promoting physical relaxation.

NOTE: There is an improved version of the Progressive Muscle Relaxation exercise available here.


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Physical relaxation is a foundational skill from which many clients benefit. Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a technique for promoting relaxation and activating the parasympathetic nervous system. This worksheet includes simple step-by-step instructions for relaxing each muscle group in turn to promote a strong feeling of physiological relaxation.


  • Bernstein, D. A., Borkovec, T. D. (1973). Progressive relaxation training: a manual for the helping professions. Champaign, Illinois: Research Press.