Progressive Muscle Relaxation In Social Anxiety - Learning Ways To Relax Your Body And Mind
We can all most probably relate to how our body feels when we are tense. Watching a movie, riding a roller coaster... We all feel anxious from time to time, perhaps being nervous about a job interview or a driving test. Once these activities have passed we are usually able to revert back to relax mode. If you suffer with social anxiety, you may unconsciously tense your muscles all the time even when you are not in a social environment. It may then seem like the natural thing to do everyday.
Does Anxiety Cause Muscle Tightness
Yes, when we are stressed our muscles can become tense, stiff and at times become painful. Learning how to relax your body plays a huge part in how social anxiety is controlled. It’s so important to be aware of how your body feels when it’s tense and how this affects you.
Take a quick test and take your attention to your upper body. You may find your shoulders are raised, your neck is hunched, facial muscles feel tight, your jaw and teeth are clenched, tension in your forehead and eyes.
Now concentrate on your arms, hands, fingers, are they relaxed or tense? Stress and anxiety of any kind has an effect on how the muscles in our body feel when we are not relaxed.
A common thing we all do when we are trying to relax is not being able to switch off from other things going on in life. It’s hard to control those thoughts especially when you have constant worries in life. But it’s really important to set time for yourself, your body and your mind.
It’s a vicious cycle. If your minds not relaxed, your body’s not relaxed leading to all kinds of symptoms. For example if your neck is constantly tense, you may also suffer with headaches, eye strain, shoulder pain. If your chest, shoulders and arms are tense you may actually sometimes forget to breathe. It’s not uncommon. You can see more on breathing techniques on our blog page here https://www.aspiringbutterfliez.co.uk/Blog/Post/17
Jaw clenching and teeth grinding, also called bruxism is a common symptom in social anxiety. We may do this when we are anxious, nervous or again some people may unconsciously do this without realising. It becomes a habit. Constantly grinding your teeth over time can wear your teeth down. If this does continue to become a problem everyday speak to your GP who will advise you on ways to manage bruxism, stress and anxiety. If your teeth do become sensitive or painful see your dentist who will be able to check your teeth for any noticeable problems of teeth grinding. Progressive muscle relaxation can also help with this problem.
Learning Ways to Relax Muscle Tension
This can seem really hard to start with. Don’t give up, keep persevering. Like everything else the more you practice the more natural it will become in time and in everyday situations. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you will find you are able to recognise signs of your body becoming tense, making it easier to nip it in the bud straight away before it progresses.
Don’t tense your muscles too hard, this may lead to cramping. Your muscles may feel stiff after tensing until your body gets used to it but you shouldn’t feel any pain with these exercises. If you develop any muscle pain, muscle spasms, back pain during PGMR speak to your GP before continuing. Likewise if you have any existing physical medical problems these should always be checked with your GP before starting Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise -PGMR.