How To Relieve Tension And Reduce Stress
Of course, the very word stress is very familiar to us. We often use it and we attribute all the negativities that happen to us to this very term. However, do we fully know the meaning of this word? The definition of stress says that it is a set of non-specific reactions of the organism to harmful factors from the environment. These harmful factors activate the mechanisms in the human body, which try to establish a balance with the environment. In this text we will show how to reduce stress.
Go On A Cleaning Binge
Giving the inside of your pantry a good wipe-down or really getting into the sofa cushions with a vacuum attachment has multiple stress reducing benefits on top of fewer visits from icky vermin: its a project that requires a little planning, but some physical activityboth of which Kissen says can reduce stressand is likely to result in a sense of achievement that lifts your mood. And working mindfully at it can reduce stress even more: one study found that folks who were told to stay gently focused on what they were doing while washing dishes boosted their effect
Tip : Bring Your Senses To The Rescue
To use your senses to quickly relieve stress, you first need to identify the sensory experiences that work best for you. This can require some experimentation. As you employ different senses, note how quickly your stress levels drop. And be as precise as possible. What is the specific kind of sound or type of movement that affects you the most? For example, if youre a music lover, listen to many different artists and types of music until you find the song that instantly lifts and relaxes you.
Explore a variety of sensory experiences so that no matter where you are, youll always have a tool to relieve stress.
The examples listed below are intended to be a jumping-off point. Let your imagination run free and come up with additional things to try. When you find the right sensory technique, youll know it!
Recommended Reading: Can Stress Cause Stomach Ulcers
These Fun And Effective Ideas Will Help When Anxiety Is Getting The Best Of You
I dont know about you, but even in normal, not particularly chaotic times, I know when Im stressedmy shoulders tense up and fuse with my ears, my digestion gets wonky, and according to my boyfriend and kids, I become especially delightful to be around. Stress looks different for different people, but its usually some version of your brain and body crankily pushing back against all youre trying to manage.
The question is, what can we do to relieve stress, especially if were stuck inside? Because not to stress you out further, but both chronic and acute stress can have negative impacts on our health, and can lead us to engage in less-than-wise escapist habits.
When we think about the body on stress, its really fuel for the fight-or-flight response, says Debra Kissen, Ph.D., the co-chair of the Anxiety and Depression Association of Americas education committee and co-author of Rewire Your Anxious Brain For Teens. This is helpful when we have to get in gear to, say, lift a car off a small child or flee an ax-wielding horror movie villain. Its just that when our brain continues to feel that were in danger when were not, that stress starts to create all kinds of physical and emotional problems. Add anxietydread and worry about what may happen nextand that doesnt help our stress levels.
Thats why we asked the experts for their best stress-relieving activities that you can have at the ready, even if you cant get outside.
Read Also: What Is In Young Living Stress Away
Releasing Tension In The Jaw Neck Face
For those who hold stress in the neck and jaw region, the reaction to stress is to clench the jaw and grind the teeth, which in turn tightens and compresses the neck, pulling the head forward. In extreme cases, this causes headaches or even migraines, chronic teeth grinding, deep frown lines in the forehead, and shortened, tight, and painful neck muscles.
Jill shares more: Stress often settles in this area when we are thinking too much about and/or fearing a current situation because were bringing the past in. Learning to use intuitive meditation and mantras that calm the brain allows energy to flow through our body. Flow leads to glow.
In the below video, we share a few ways to help release and move accumulated stress and blocked energy from the jaw, neck, and face:
Don’t Miss: How To Fight Stress And Anxiety Naturally
The Primary Cause Of Jaw Tension
Although there can be many causes, a primary reason for jaw tension often goes undiagnosed. Its the same cause for most chronic pain, as medical pioneer Dr. John Sarno discovered: repressed emotions, mostly rage.
This repressed rage begins developing in childhood and builds steam into adulthood.
Our bodies hold tension in the masseter muscles of the jaw as a way of mitigating some of this repressed rage.
Spend Time With Friends And Family
Social support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times.
Being part of a friend network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help you in tough times.
One study found that for women in particular, spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is called tend and befriend, and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response .
Keep in mind that both men and women benefit from friendship.
Another study found that men and women with the fewest social connections were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety .
Having strong social ties may help you get through stressful times and lower your risk of anxiety.
Its hard to feel anxious when youre laughing. Its good for your health, and there are a few ways it may help relieve stress:
- Relieving your stress response.
- Relieving tension by relaxing your muscles.
In the long term, laughter can also help improve your immune system and mood.
A study among people with cancer found that people in the laughter intervention group experienced more stress relief than those who were simply distracted (
Try watching a funny TV show or hanging out with friends who make you laugh.
Find the humor in everyday life, spend time with funny friends or watch a comedy show to help relieve stress.
Not all stressors are within your control, but some are.
One way to do this may be to say no more often.
Also Check: How To Deal With Stress Naturally
Another Effective Trick To Keep Your Jaw Relaxed
The above exercises are helpful. You can do them at any time .
But as soon as you place your attention on something else, theres a high likelihood that the jaw tension will return.
So heres a trick you can use while you work: gently touch your tongue on the palate right behind your top teeth.
Try making the sound, Nnnnnnnnnnnn, and it should happen automatically.
There should be a slight space between your top and bottom teeth. And your lips should be gently closed .
This establishes the correct tongue posture. The tongue is supposed to remain on the palate at all timesunless eating, drinking, or talking.
If you remind yourself of this tongue posture periodically throughout the day, eventually, you will train your tongue to stay in this position.
Quick Stress Relief On The Go
In traffic. Play music or listen to an audiobook. Take a different route to see something new. Do neck-rolls at stoplights. Sing in the car to stay awake and happy.
Public transportation. Take a break from reading, cell conversations, and music to tune into the sights and sounds around you. Try noticing something new, even if youre on the same old bus ride.
Running errands. Wear a special perfume or lotion so you can enjoy it while you rush from place to place. Carry a stress ball in your pocket. Take a mental snapshot or postcard at each destination.
Waiting in lines. Instead of worrying about time slipping away, focus on your breathing. People watch. Chat with the person ahead of you. Chew a stick of minty gum.
Recommended Reading: Why Do We Have Stress
Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation involves relaxing all the muscles in your body, group by group. To practice, you can start with a few deep breaths.
Then, practice tightening and relaxing each muscle group, starting with your forehead and moving down to your toes.
With practice, you’ll learn to recognize tension and tightness in your muscles and you’ll be able to relax more easily. Each time you practice, however, you should experience a feeling of relaxation sweeping through your body.
Alice Patons Tre Exercises : New Relaxation Techniques For Anxiety & Stress
London based Alice Paton has been a qualified Craniosacral Therapist since 2012, and has been involved with TRE Exercises since 2014. Alice has had a keen interest in yoga since my teens, and it was whilst on a yoga retreat that she learnt about Craniosacral Therapy.
She recalls It made me think about how our bodies carry the stories of our lives, with different degrees of tension held within each of us. Craniosacral therapy allows our bodies to be heard, and helps to re-balance our nervous system.
The physical process of Tension & Trauma Release Exercises similarly helps to quiet the nervous system, and these practical tension & trauma releasing exercises means you can learn the routine and then do it at home, as and when you need. When you have an achy back or have had a stressful day for example.
TRE sessions are 75 minutes long and can be designed for individuals or small groups. It is an innovative sequence of tension & trauma releasing exercises designed to encourage the body to release deep-held patterns of muscular tension and unlock reservoirs of natural energy and resilience.
The practice, created by Dr David Berceli PhD, activates a naturally occurring reflex of subtle shaking and muscular tremoring designed to reboot the nervous system, relax chronic muscular patterns and restore the bodys natural orientation towards health.
You May Like: How Does Stress Make You Feel
What Happens When Cortisol Is High
Over the last 20 years, studies have increasingly revealed that moderate to high cortisol levels may lead to an array of health issues, such as :
- Chronic disease. Long-term increased cortisol may increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and other chronic diseases.
- Weight gain. Cortisol may increase appetite and signal the body to shift metabolism to store fat.
- Lack of energy/difficulty sleeping. It can interfere with sleep hormones which may impact sleep quality and length.
- Difficulty concentrating. Also referred to as brain fog, some people report trouble focusing and lack of mental clarity.
- Impaired immune system. Increased cortisol can hamper the immune system, making it more difficult to fight infections.
- Cushings syndrome. In rare cases, very high cortisol levels can lead to Cushings syndrome, a rare but serious disease.
Elevated cortisol levels can be caused from many underlying issues such as overactivity or cancer of the pituitary or adrenal glands, chronic stress, and medication side effects .
Further, existing chronic disease may lead to higher cortisol levels, causing a chicken or the egg type of scenario .
Therefore, its best to work with a qualified health professional to establish the root cause of your health issues. Along with this, you may want to introduce some effective lifestyle habits that may help you better manage your cortisol levels. Here are some recommendations:
How To Release Jaw Tension
Sarnos prescription for undoing this repressed rage has two parts.
First, you repeatedly remind yourself that repressed emotions is the source of your jaw tension .
That is, the source of our tension and pain isnt physical but psychological.
And somehow, acknowledging and accepting this fact reduces the repressed rage, thereby decreasing the unconscious tension.
Second, you familiarize yourself with all the potential sources of this rage.
- Childhood events,
The list isnt short.
See Sarnos The Divided Mind for a complete treatment protocol.
And to become more present with the source of your psychological tension, see The Mastery Method.
Read Also: Does Stress Make You Tired
The Consequences Of A Clenching Jaw
Most people tend to hold tension in our jaw unconsciously. Meaning many of us can go our entire lives without even knowing the amount of pressure were clenching our jaw.
Even when you think your jaw is relaxed, youre most likely holding tension. When the jaw muscles are fully relaxed, your lower jaw can swing from side to side, as if on a hinge.
When this tension goes to an extreme, Bruxism or teeth grinding occurs. Approximately 8% to 30% of adults grind their teeth, usually during their sleep.
But most of us merely clench the jaw muscle during sleep and throughout the day. Clenching can lead to fatigue, headaches, dizziness, toothaches, earaches, and reduced quality of sleep.
Even more concerning, the more tension we hold, the more energy we expend. Less energy translates to lower emotional resilience, lower adaptability to stress, and less focus. In effect, clenching jaw tension kills productivity and performance.
Embrace Your Inner Child And Play
When was the last time you colored, played hide and seek, or watched cartoons? Dr. Saltz believes that embracing playtime as an adult can be amazing for stress. Bonus points if you have actual kids around to play with. However determining what that is is entirely up to you and your childhood. Dont be afraid to get silly and embrace whatever uniqueness comes to mind.
Read Also: How Can You De Stress Yourself
Make A List Of Things Youre Grateful For
We get it, it can be difficult feel gratitude for anything when it feels like the world is falling down around you. But showing gratitude for the smallest things, like a warm cup of tea or a sunny day can lift your spirits and reduce anxiety, Gail Saltz, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at NY Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine and host of the Personology podcast, tells Health. If possible, start a daily gratitude journal where you list what you’re grateful for that day, turning the stress-relieving habit into a routine.
Other Options For Neck And Shoulder Tension
Yoga is an excellent activity to help release stress-related tension in your neck and shoulders. In fact, one study found that 9 weeks of yoga resulted in pain relief and functional improvements in people with neck pain.
There are also some other strategies you can use to help relieve or prevent tension in your neck. For instance you can:
- Apply a warm compress to the tight area.
- Spend a few minutes doing a self-massage.
- Soak in a warm tub, and add a few drops of aromatherapy oil for extra relaxation.
- Adjust your workstation, so your computer is at eye level to avoid neck strain.
- Check your posture while youre at your work desk keep your hips, shoulders, and ears in a straight line.
- Get up and move away from your workstation for a few minutes every hour.
- At night, use a pillow that offers good support for your neck, and is designed to keep your head and neck aligned.
Read Also: What To Eat To Reduce Stress
Ways And Treatment Of Stress Related Tension In Your Neck And Shoulders
Many people around the world are facing such situations, but not all of them are informed about its appropriate treatment. Let us talk about the number of ways to treat the tension in the neck and shoulder aroused due to stress. Following are some of the tested means to cure such situations:
Doing basic exercises and sufficient physical movement during our daily regimes have no substitute for attaining good health. Exercises for treating the stress-based tension in the shoulder and neck are many, but one has to choose among the selected ones which suit him/her the best.
2. Neck Exercises
Stretching your neck within limits can help you relieve severe neck pain. There are several exercises involving the neck that can help you ease the pain. Neck release is a common exercise in this aspect and has shown assured results among people suffering from shoulder & neck tension. Seated Neck Stretch, Chin to Chest Stretch, etc., can be done regularly for faster results.
It greatly helps in controlling the neck tension by pressing some specific points to release the pain. The history of acupuncture can be traced back to the old Chinese era.
Posture plays an important role in keeping the body parts intact. Many of us have a poor sleeping/sitting posture that makes a person vulnerable to neck and shoulder tensions.
6. Lifestyle and Habits
Tension Throughout The Body
This exercise can help relieve tension that builds up around your waist, the lower back and the lumbar muscles.
- Stand up and stretch your arms up above your head.
- Bend your body towards the right, sliding your left hand down your right arm.
- Return to the starting position, and repeat on the other side.
- Do a total of 8 repetitions, 4 on each side.
Recommended Reading: How To Stop Stressing About Money
How To Relieve Your Stress And Tension
Have you been feeling stressed out lately? Stress and tension or pain in the body are more closely related than you may think. Oftentimes, when someone is feeling stress in their life, even if it is just mental, it can begin to manifest itself in your body. From joint pain to chronic back pain, muscle tension, injuries, and even headaches, stress can take a huge toll on your life.
Stretching exercises may help to relieve some of that. Stretching has many health benefits, including stress relief, which can benefit your mental health. Doing a few simple stretches a day, if that is all you can fit into your busy schedule, can help to improve blood flow, release tension, and help to relieve many ailments caused by stress like heart rate and blood pressure issues.