Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
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Health and Safety: Teaching Tools

Progressive Neuromuscular Relaxation Technique

Provide the learners with a relaxation technique. This relaxation method can be used to help anyone relax when they are feeling "stressed out".

Progressive Neuromuscular Relaxation works well for those who find techniques such as meditation boring. It is also a great benefit to those who experience stress related tension problems, such as tension headaches and insomina. It is very simple to do. it also requires little space (sitting or lying down) and time (approximately 5 minutes) to preform this technique. It can be used when you are unable to sleep, before or during a test, or any other time that you are feeling 'stressed' or anxious.


  • Close your eyes tightly.
  • Clench your jaw.
  • Tighten the rest of your facial muscles and pull your chin to your chest.
  • Pull your shoulder blades together.
  • With your arm straight, tighten your arms the sides of your body, and clench your hands into tight fists.
  • Tighten your stomach muscles (Remember to continue to breath!).
  • Squeeze your thighs and buttocks together.
  • Tighten your calves.
  • Point your feet and curl your toes (but not to the point where they begin to cramp).
  • All muscles should now be tensed.
  • Finally, relax your body one part at a time, in reverse order beginning with the toes.

Allow the tension to drop out of each muscle when it is being realxed. If the individual does not yet feel relaxed enough, repeat the process one or two more times.

Remember... DO NOT HOLD your breath! Good Luck!