Preparing your mind and body for surgery

Studies have shown that if your mind and body are ready for surgery you may sleep better and have less anxiety and pain. Your hospital stay may also be shorter.

The Penny George™ Institute for Health and Healing

The Penny George™ Institute for Health and Healing offers services to help you as you prepare for and recover from surgery. Call 612-863-3333 for more information, or ask your health care team which services are offered at your hospital.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation is a short and easy exercise to help you relax and relieve some of your pain.

Getting started

Find a relaxing position. You may sit down or lie on your back in bed. Be sure your legs and hands are not crossed.

You may close your eyes. If you prefer, you can keep your eyes open but focus on one spot in front of you.

Bring your attention to your breathing. Think about where your breath comes in and out of your nose or mouth. Think about how your chest moves up and down with each breath.

Imagine a gentle, safe wave of relaxation that will slowly and warmly flow through your body. The wave can help you find those places that need to relax and give them permission to relax.

You can also imagine this wave in any way you find most comfortable. You may see it as light, water or just a feeling.

If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breathing.

Relax from your head to your feet

  • Bring your attention to the top of your head and begin to imagine a wave.
  • With your next breath out, feel it flow through your head. Feel your jaw soften and relax.
  • Breathe in.
  • With your next breath out, focus on the back of your neck. Let it soften and relax.
  • Breathe in.
  • With your next breath out, imagine the wave moving through each arm all the way to your hands. Feel your hands become slightly heavier where they are lying.
  • Breathe in.
  • With your next breath out, imagine the wave of relaxation roll gently and safely down your spine. Let all of your back muscles relax and soften.
  • Continue to breathe. Feel the wave flow as you breathe out.
  • Let the wave flow through your pelvic area and hips into your upper legs and thighs.
  • Breathe in.
  • With your next breath out, allow the wave to find those areas in your legs and knees that need to relax. Give them permission to relax.
  • Breathe in.
  • With your next breath out, feel the wave move into your calves, then your feet. Feel your feet become a little heavier.
  • Take two deep breaths. Imagine any remaining stress gently flowing out the bottoms of your feet.

Take a moment to observe the still place you created. With practice, relaxation will become easier.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Hip Replacement, eighth edition, ortho-ah-90139
First Published: 10/01/2000
Last Reviewed: 10/01/2020

Affirmations for surgery
Get more affirmations for surgery and write down some you create on your own, as well.
Call 612-863-3333 or visit for more information about the Penny George Institute.