Stress Relief with Relaxation Techniques
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Are you stressed?
If so, you are not alone. In fact, most, if not all, people experience stress from time-to-time. What are the symptoms of anxiety and stress? The American Institute of Stress (2014), reports that approximately 80% of people experience workplace stress. Stress is a normal reaction to overwhelming, challenging, and difficult situations. According to Lawrence Robinson, Robert Segal, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., authors of the HelpGuide.org article, “Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief,” stress is an essential part of life because it fosters creativity, action, learning, and even survival. These authors believe that stress can be healthy. In fact, they assert that it is only harmful when it overtakes and/or disrupts one’s life and ability to function normally. Unfortunately; stress (good and bad) is a part of life that cannot be avoided. Mayo Clinic (2014) asserts that relaxation techniques help you better manage stresses (i.e. everyday stressors and bodily stresses). If you are asking yourself, what are the symptoms of anxiety and stress? What can I do about it, and how to I prevent it from happening to me . . . If your friends and family are suffering from similar conditions, and they are also asking this question - what are the symptoms of anxiety and stress? You can use this as your guide.
Thankfully, there are a variety of relaxation techniques that can help zap away your stress. It is important to note that relaxation techniques are unique to the individual. In other words, what may work for one person, may not work for another. When selecting a relaxation technique, consider your specific needs, health conditions, preferences, and fitness level. Also, take a look at how you react to stressful situations. The “best” relaxation techniques are the ones that “fit” your lifestyle. In addition, these techniques should help you focus, and relax during stressful times. For optimal results, try alternating and/or combining different relaxation techniques. If you are wondering how to reduce your stress level, you have come to the right place, this article will zap away your stress in no time at all!
Listed below are effective ways to zap away your stress:
Do you want to relax? If so, place a warm neck wrap around your neck. Leave it there for 10 to 15 minutes. Close your eyes, and try to relax the muscles in your face, neck, chest, and back. While relaxing with the wrap around your neck, take a tennis ball and place it under your feet. Roll the ball back and forth at the arch of your foot. The back and forth motion will ease away the stress and tension in your feet (stress usually resides in your feet, neck and back). Do this foot exercise for at least 15 minutes. Once you have finished massaging your feet, sit next to a wall, and place the ball between your back and the wall. Lean against the ball for 5 minutes. If possible, roll the ball back and forth, similar to how you did with your feet. Move the ball to all of your tense muscles and repeat the ball exercise. Repeat these exercises until your stress subsides.
Laugh a Little
When was the last time you laughed a little? Can’t remember? Well, one of the best ways to zap away stress is to laugh. Yes, a good chuckle just doesn’t just relieve mental stress; it also increases your endorphin production (the brain chemical that regulates your mood) and reduces cortisol production (the hormone responsible for stress).So, turn on a funny sitcom or movie, read the comics, chat with a upbeat, silly friend, or read an entertaining book or magazine. Basically, find out what makes you laugh and seek it out when you feel stressed.
When was the last time you exercised? Hmmm…well it may be time to get moving. According to Jeannette Moninger, author of the WebMD article, “10 Relaxation Techniques That Zap Stress Fast,” moving is a wonderful way to zap stress, and improve your mood. It is also essential for maintaining your health and flexibility. It is important to note that you do not have to run 10 miles to alleviate stress. Rather, any form of exercise will suffice. For example, yoga and walking can reduce depression and anxiety symptoms by promoting the release of “feel good chemicals” into your body. These chemicals help your brain and body cope with stress. So, if you are experiencing stress, zap it away by taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood or office building during lunch and breaks, taking the stairs, instead of the escalator or elevator, parking away from a store and walking to it, joining a gym, jogging, and/or practicing yoga and stretching exercises several times a day (i.e. shoulder shrugs and neck roles).
Crank up the Music
Yep, cranking up the music can zap away your stress. This relaxation technique can actually put you in a really good mood. The key is finding the right music – inspirational, fun, soothing, or exciting. The type of music used should be unique to your preferences. In other words, if upbeat music helps your relax, then turn on fast-paced songs, but if soothing music is more calming to you, turn on soft R&B, classical, jazz or instrumental songs. Moninger (2014) states that listening to music can actually lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and reduce anxiety. So, zap away that stress by creating your own customized playlist with songs that reduce stress and boost your mood. You may want to consider including nature sounds on your playlist (i.e. birds chirping, ocean waves, wind blowing, and/or a bubbling brook) to calm your mind.
Lastly, and most importantly, be grateful. One of the most effective ways to zap away stress is to be appreciative of what you have achieved. Also, be grateful for your friends, family, job, opportunities, etc. In other words, focus on the positive in your life, not the negative. Everyone has something to be thankful for, do not allow yourself to slip into the “darkness.” If it is hard to think of anything “good” and positive when you are stressed, make a list of all of the “good” things in your life and pull it out when you feel “down,” stressed, hopeless, helpless, and/or anxious. Looking at a list of things that you have to be grateful for will help you re-evaluate the situation. It will also remind you “things could be worse.”
- Dr. R. Y. Langham
I too am like the over 80% of Americans that are faced with stress on a routine basis. I have held many occupations over the years, and these are occupations that are often by many characteristics very stressful. I also am a "worrier" or as we say in the south a "worry-wart".
When I was a high school softball coach, I was able to negotiate a deal with a local yoga studio and instructor to host a weekly class for my team. Being the great coach, I not only attended the sessions, but I too participated in the sessions, for the whole team bonding thing and all. However, I soon realized that it not only was helping me bond with my team and creating some intense degree of physical exercise, but also that I was more relaxed and less stressed following the classes. Each class ended with a few moments of quiet meditative relaxation while nature sounds played in the background.
I also prefer the laughter method of relaxation. I can put all of my cares and worries aside even for a brief amount of time and just laugh at a sitcom or comedy concert. In my home sometimes all you need to do to laugh is gather around the dinner table, which become the best sitcom ever!
Mayo Clinic. (2014). Relaxation techniques: Try these steps to reduce stress. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/relaxation- technique/art-20045368
Moninger, J. (2014). 10 relaxation techniques that zap stress fast. WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/blissing-out-10-relaxation-techniques-reduce-stress-spot
Robinson, L., Segal. R., & Segal, J. (2014). Relaxation techniques for stress relief. Help Guide. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/relaxation-techniques-for-stress-relief.htm
The American Institute of Stress. (2014). Workplace stress. Retrieved from http://www.stress.org/workplace-stress/