When you’re under stress, you feel your body tighten. You might not even notice that you’re tensing up at first. Then, you begin to relax and feel soreness in your shoulders and back. Before you let stress take over your body, try to be aware of how your body is responding. Try these four relaxation techniques to get you started.
- Meditate – just a few minutes a day can help reduce your stress levels. Research has shown that daily meditation may even alter the brain’s neural pathways, making your more resistant to stress. Just sit up straight in your chair with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes and focus your attention on something positive – whether it’s a favorite, relaxing place or a saying that brings about calm. Push distracting thoughts out.
- Practice Deep Breathing – throughout the day, take short 3-5 minutes breaks and focus on your breathing. Slowly inhale through your nose, filling your diaphragm. Hold it for a few seconds and then slowly exhale through your mouth. Deep breathing slows your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure, battling those stressful feelings.
- Exercise – by moving your body, you can reduce your stress level. Whether you choose to go for a walk, practice yoga or simply walk up a flight of stairs instead of taking the elevator. Exercise releases feel good hormones.
- Listen to Music – ever wonder why Michael Phelps wears those headphones right up until the last possible moment before a big race? He’s using music to relieve the stress and anxiety. There is plenty of research to back this up. Music can help lower blood pressure, lower heart rate and reduce anxiety. And it doesn’t have to be calm, relaxing music either. Whatever you find relaxing will work for you.