17 Steps to Relaxation

If you’ve had trouble winding down, it may be that you need some practical techniques to help you let go. This exercise in progressive relaxation will bring about a deep calm in just 17 steps.

This exercise is most effective when you tape record the instructions in advance, preferably in your own voice. Lie on your back, close your eyes, and listen.

This is a mild form of self-hypnosis. The objective is to tense the muscles of each designated area, and then relax them.

  1. Feel your feet. Feel the weight of your feet. Feel your feet relax and sink into the bed.
  2. Feel your lower legs. Feel the weight of your lower legs. Feel your lower legs relax and sink into the bed.
  3. Feel your knees. Feel the weight of your knees. Feel your knees relax and sink into the bed.
  4. Feel your upper legs. Feel the weight of your upper legs. Feel your upper legs relax and sink into the bed.
  5. Feel your hands. Feel the weight of your hands. Feel your hands relax and sink into the bed.
  6. Feel your lower arms. Feel the weight of your lower arms. Feel your lower arms relax and sink into the bed.
  7. Feel your elbows. Feel the weight of your elbows. Feel your elbows relax and sink into the bed.
  8. Feel your upper arms. Feel the weight of your upper arms. Feel your upper arms relax and sink into the bed.
  9. Feel your pelvic and belly area. Feel the weight of your pelvic and belly area. Feel your pelvic and belly area relax and sink into the bed.
  10. Feel your back. Feel the weight of your back. Feel your back relax and sink into the bed.
  11. Feel your chest. Feel the weight of your chest. Feel your chest relax and sink into the bed.
  12. Feel your shoulders. Feel the weight of your shoulders. Feel your shoulders relax and sink into the bed.
  13. Feel your neck, both front and back. Feel the weight of your neck. Feel your neck relax and sink into the bed.
  14. Feel your mouth. Feel any tension in your mouth. Feel your mouth relax and any tension slide off into the bed.
  15. Feel your eyes. Feel any tension in your eyes. Feel your eyes relax and any tension slide off into the bed.
  16. Feel your entire face. Feel any tension in your face. Feel your face relax and let any tension slide off into the bed.
  17. Mentally scan your body. If you find any place that’s still tense, relax it and let it sink into the bed.

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