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Progressive Muscle Relaxation Script (Plus Free PDF)

There's no denying that stress can take a toll on our bodies and our minds. Fortunately, there are several ways to help alleviate stress, including progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). Many people find PMR to be a very effective way to reduce stress and tension. Some even use it as a way to fall asleep at night. In this article, you will find a detailed discussion on PMR and 2 Quick Progressive Muscle Relaxation scripts...

If you're looking for a way to help reduce stress, give PMR a try.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is a stress management technique developed by Edmund Jacobson, a Physical Therapist in the early 1920s. According to Jacobson, since mental stress and anxiety accompany muscular tension, one can reduce stress and anxiety by learning to relax muscle tension.

Jacobson's Progressive Muscle Relaxation (JPMR) technique/exercise/therapy is still popular among modern physiotherapists as well as psychotherapists.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Script

What Is Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) can be defined as a relaxation response to daily stressors. It is a psychophysical therapy that can be used to reduce tension and physical pain, and to help clients learn to be more conscious of their own bodily sensations and body posture.

PMR comprises a sequence of techniques designed to systematically relax specific muscle groups, increase awareness of bodily sensations, and facilitate a shift from a focused to a more detached, or even a relaxed, awareness of oneself.

It is based on the idea that by focusing and relaxing specific muscle groups, the body can reduce muscular tension and allow for more physiological rest.

It has been proven to be an effective treatment for anxiety and stress, and is used increasingly by practitioners in the field of relaxation therapy.

Does Progressive Muscle Relaxation Work

There are shreds of evidence to suggest that progressive muscle relaxation does work to reduce stress and tension. PMR also exhibits a positive influence on depression and anxiety

A study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that progressive muscle relaxation helped reduce stress and anxiety in college students.

Another study published in the Journal of Nursing Research found that progressive muscle relaxation helped reduce stress, anxiety, and pain in participants.

Benefits of Progressive Muscle Relaxation: PMR Therapy for Stress, Anxiety, and Sleep

Progressive muscle relaxation can be utilized to reach a deep state of calm, as maintenance in a relaxation program, or to help induce sleep.

PMR can bring a multitude of benefits beyond short-term relaxation, ranging from relief for tension headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia (sleep problems), digestive issues, stress reactions, anxiety (e.g. test anxiety or fear of flying), and other stress/anxiety-related symptoms.

PMR has been found to reduce anxiety, muscle tension, and stress levels in a wide range of individuals, and is also used as a therapeutic technique to reduce anxiety in individuals with chronic pain. PMR has been used to treat a wide range of conditions, including but not limited to fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and arthritis.

How to do Progressive Muscle Relaxation

PMR works by first tensing various muscle groups for 5-7 seconds, bringing your awareness to how the muscles feel tensed, and then relaxing them suddenly bringing your awareness to how the muscles now feel relaxed.

Some people find it helpful to start with the toes and work their way up to the head. Others prefer to start with the head and work their way down. There's no right or wrong way to do PMR. The important thing is to focus on each muscle group and feel the tension as you tense the muscles and then release them as you relax them.

Sit in a comfortable chair. It would be ideal that have armrests. It can be done lying on a bed as well. Get as comfortable as possible (do not use shoes or tight clothing). Do not cross your legs. Take a completely deep breath. Do it very slowly. Alternately tense each specific muscle group for about 5-7 seconds and relax. You should concentrate on feeling the muscles, specifically the contrast between tension and relaxation.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation script | JPMR script

A progressive muscle relaxation script is a set of words that are read aloud, which instruct the listener to go through a series of steps to relax. These steps include tensing and relaxing specific muscles throughout the body, which can help reduce feelings of anxiety and the effects of stress.

Here is a quick progressive muscle relaxation script in short:

1) Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands resting in your lap.

2) Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, letting each breath out slowly.

3) Mentally scan through your body from head to toe and tense up the muscles along the way. Hold each muscle tense for about five seconds before releasing it completely.

4) Continue this process until you reach the bottom of your feet at which point you should relax all of the muscles in that area as well as those above.

Below are two Progressive Muscle Relaxation scripts in detail:

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Script – 1

Pay attention to your Hands.

Clench your fists, tighten, and tense. Extend the fingers and relax afterward.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Biceps and Triceps.

Tense the biceps and triceps folding the arms in the opposite direction than usual. Then relax.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Shoulders.

Pull them up carefully and then relax.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Neck (lateral).

With your shoulders straight and relaxed, bend your head slowly to the right as far as possible, then relax. Do the same for the left.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Neck (forward).

Bring your chin to your chest, then relax. (bringing your head back is not recommended).

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Tongue.

Press your tongue against the palate and then relax. Press against the floor of the mouth, then relax.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Eyes.

Open as much as possible and relax. Be sure you are completely relaxed - eyes, forehead, and nose.

Pay attention to your Breath.

Inhale as deeply as possible, and then take a little more, then exhale. Then breathe normally for about 15 seconds. After throwing as much air as possible, expire a little more. Breathe normally for 15 seconds.

Pay attention to your Back.

With your shoulders resting on the back of the chair, pull your body forward so that your back is arched. Then relax.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Buttocks.

Tense and elevate the pelvis out of the chair, then relax. Squeeze your buttocks against the chair. Then relax.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Thighs.

Extend legs and raise them 10 cm. Do not tighten your stomach. Then relax. Tighten your feet on the floor, and relax.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Stomach.

Pull it in as much as possible, tightening the muscles. Then relax.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Feet.

Tighten your fingers (without raising the legs); relax. Point your fingers up as much as possible, then relax.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Fingers on the legs.

With your legs relaxed, squeeze your fingers against the floor, and relax. Bend your fingers up as much as possible, and relax.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Script – 2

Ball up your left fist, tighter and tighter, feel the tension and then release and relax your fingers. Feel the relaxation in your hand and fingers, then repeat the exercise with your right hand and then with both hands.

Bend your elbow and tighten your biceps. Tense tighter and tighter and feel the tension. Then straighten your arm, release, and feel the difference. Now tighten the other biceps and then both arms at once, and release. Repeat.

Press your feet and toes against the floor and feel the tension in your calf muscles. Curl the tip of your toes up towards your shin and feel the tension in the lower legs. Release and feel the difference. Repeat.

Squeeze your buttocks and thighs and feel the tension. Press your heels against the floor as hard as possible. Release, feel the difference, and repeat.

Tense your abdominal muscles and feel them tighten; release, breathe in and out against your abdominal wall. Repeat.

Furrow your brows by drawing the forehead muscles upwards to create horizontal lines. Hold for five seconds, then release and feel your forehead become smooth and your scalp relax.

Draw your eyebrows together and feel the tension. Release and relax the eyebrow area.

Squint your eyes tightly, then release and repeat the exercise.

Clench your teeth together tightly and clench your jaw muscles. Feel the tension in the jaw and then release. Same with the lips: Press them together tightly, hold, and release and feel the difference.

Push your head back as far as possible and feel the tension in the back of your neck, then release. Focus on the difference and repeat the exercise.

Now raise your shoulders high and higher, hold the tension, and release.

To complete the exercise, speed up your breath slightly, allow the energy to flow back into your arms and legs, stretch them out, open your eyes, and feel the full effect of your relaxation.

Note: Do the process of tensing various muscles without straining – just contract each muscle firmly but gently as you breathe in. If you feel uncomfortable at any time, simply relax and breathe normally.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Script PDF

Here is a comprehensive progressive muscle relaxation script pdf that will lead you through a step-by-step process, prompting you to tense and release each muscle group while incorporating moments of pause for you to fully experience and embrace the relaxation. You can download and save the PDF file, making it easily accessible whenever you need a moment of tranquility and relief.

Download the Progressive Muscle Relaxation Script PDF Here 👉 progressive muscle relaxation script pdf

Let's begin the journey toward deep relaxation and tranquility!

Progressive Muscle Relaxation for Kids

Today’s kids are under an increasing amount of stress and pressure. A fast-paced environment and overexposure to media mean that many children don’t know how to relax. The tension reinforces the stress so that they barely know moments of calmness.

This affects their health as well as their ability to concentrate. They perform less well at school, become apathetic, and lack energy. The consequences can go as far as behavioral disorders and severe phobias.

Progressive muscle relaxation, as developed by Doctor Edmund Jacobson, helps restless and stressed children relax their bodies. They learn to pay attention to their own needs and to recognize when the tension becomes too much.

Introducing the PMR therapy in a playful way

Progressive muscle relaxation is especially well-suited for kids. Unlike adults, however, children do require constant guidance. While adults can follow the therapist’s instructions and perform the exercises, kids often don’t understand what is expected of them and have trouble comprehending why they need to do the exercises. This is why it’s important to introduce them to the therapy in a playful manner.

The introduction should be both entertaining and calming to give the child the chance to relax.

Telling little stories in which the child has to perform certain tasks can help the child get into a fantasy world mindset. The child should be in a comfortable seated position on a chair or lying on a soft mat or a recliner. The therapist narrates a story and integrates the various exercises into the plot. The child must ball up their fists, raise their shoulders to their ears, and do other tasks.

It is crucial to always resolve the tension to create a contrast between tension and relaxation. A calm voice and an undisturbed space to carry out progressive muscle relaxation exercises are required. The story should be emotionally captivating but not overly exciting or suspenseful.

Practicing the PMR exercise

Another way of teaching PMR to children is to integrate individual tense-and-release sequences into a gymnastics lesson until the child has learned what is expected of him. The therapist stands in front of the child or the group and shows them how to do the exercises, then encourages the children to imitate them.

Making these initiation exercises as entertaining as possible means the kids will enjoy them more and thus be more motivated in the long term. A child who has understood the concept of the session will soon be willing to cooperate on their terms.

Children need sensitive therapists

Unlike adults who practice progressive muscle relaxation, children require a more empathetic treatment approach. Adults are generally self-driven because they wish to change their situation, but children are usually made to participate by their parents. This is why most children should not be expected to cooperate willingly at first.

With the right preparation, kids can learn to do progressive muscle relaxation without any help or assistance. The best way to motivate a child is to make them realize how they benefit from the exercises.

How do you teach children progressive muscle relaxation?

You can teach your child progressive muscle relaxation in a simple way. You will need to gather some materials before you begin.

  - A set of comfortable clothing for your child
  - A mat or floor space
  - An audio of progressive muscle relaxation exercises (if you want)

To begin, have your child sit in a comfortable position with their eyes closed. Once they are comfortable, have them relax their muscles by doing the following:
  • Take a deep breath and let it out slowly
  • Picture each muscle in your body becoming softer and more relaxed
  • When you feel your muscles becoming very soft, let go and allow the rest of your body to relax
When your child is ready, have them repeat the process, this time focusing on the following muscles:
  • Upper body
  • Lower body
  • Head and neck
  • Chest and arms
Find below a simplified version of the Progressive Muscle Relaxation technique for kids. Remember to adapt the language and instructions to suit your child's age and comprehension level. 

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Script for Kids

Find a quiet and comfortable environment where you and the child can sit or lie down. Make sure there are no distractions around.

Start by explaining the concept of progressive muscle relaxation to the child in simple terms. You can say something like, "We are going to relax our bodies by tensing and then releasing different muscles."

Begin with a deep breath. Instruct the child to take a slow, deep breath through the nose and then exhale slowly through the mouth. Encourage them to let go of any tension as they breathe out.

Focus on specific muscle groups. Start with the child's feet. Ask them to tense the muscles in their feet by curling their toes tightly for a few seconds. Then, instruct them to release the tension and feel the muscles relaxing.

Move upward to the child's legs. Ask them to squeeze their leg muscles by tightening their calf muscles. Hold the tension for a few seconds, and then guide them to let go and feel the relaxation spreading through their legs.

Continue this process, moving to different muscle groups in the body. For example, ask the child to clench their fists tightly and then release, tense their shoulder muscles by shrugging their shoulders, or scrunch their face muscles by squeezing their eyes shut and then relax.

Encourage the child to pay attention to the sensations they feel as they tense and relax each muscle group. Ask them to notice the difference between tension and relaxation.

Continue progressing through the child's body, moving from the upper body to the neck, face, and head.

Once you have gone through all the major muscle groups, encourage the child to take a few deep breaths and enjoy the overall feeling of relaxation in their body.

Finally, ask the child to slowly open their eyes and return to a more alert state.

Benefits of Progressive Muscle Relaxation for Kids

The success stories of progressive muscle relaxation speak for themselves. Most children become more balanced and less nervous and tense very quickly. They are better able to sleep through the night, meaning they are better rested and more prepared for the school day, which enables them to perform better in class.

Progressive muscle relaxation is often used as a complementary treatment alongside behavioral therapy, and its positive effects are especially noticeable in children who are experiencing behavioral problems.


Learning the basics of Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique is not difficult, but it takes practice to harness its stress-relieving power. Stress experts advise stress people to set aside at least 20 minutes a day for your relaxation. The best way to maintain PMRT is to incorporate and adjust it into your daily routine.

More than just reducing tension or a way to fall asleep, allowing yourself to relax can have a lot of benefits to your mind and body. Relaxation techniques (like PMR) can help lower the effects caused by stress or anxiety. Not only can relaxation techniques help you put yourself back together but these can also reduce the risk of developing certain conditions like cancer and heart diseases.

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