Studies have shown that progressive muscle relaxation helps a person to relax and become more calm and in control. The results revealed that there was a reduction in the levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress.
High cortisol decreases immunity, increases abdominal fat deposition, breaks down muscle, bone, and connective tissue and inhibits thyroid hormone activation.
Squish and Relax Meditation is a progressive muscle relaxation method that teaches children how to relax your muscles through a two-step process; tension (squish) and then relaxing particular muscle groups. The exercise helps children to lower their overall stress levels and relax.
- Have the children either sit comfortably with their hands in their lap or lie down with their arms to their sides.
- Play soft, gentle music in the background.
- Have them take a deep breath; breathe in for 5 counts, hold for one count and exhale for 8 counts.
- Direct them to become aware of their body in a gentle voice.
- Instruct them to slowly move their awareness noticing the different sensations from their:
- Face and Nose- Scrunch up tightly.
- Jaw- Bite down hard.
- Arms and Hands- Squeeze tightly like you are trying to pick up a heavy weight.
- Arms and Shoulders- Squeeze tightly like you are holding a heavy load.
- Stomach- Tighten your tummy like you are trying to get your belly button to touch your spine.
- Legs and Feet- Squeeze tightly like you are trying to hold a ball between your knees.
- Whole Body- Squish your entire body as tightly as you can and on release allow your body to go limp.
- Have children hold all poses for a count of five and release completely.
- Have the children remain at rest for a few more deep breaths, being aware of your body breathing.
- Discuss with the children how their bodies felt during and after. What did they notice? How could this help them when they are angry, upset or anxious?
- Want a script? Use an internet search engine and look for “Progressive Muscle Relaxation script for children” or search on YouTube for “Progressive Muscle Relaxation for Children”.
Don’t forget to share your child’s #mindfulmoment and successes in the comments, on Twitter @Ed_Tmprince or on Facebook at Education’s Voice – Mindfulness ( https://www.facebook.com/educationsvoice/ ).