Stress Relief and Relaxation
Stress is a fact of life. Although some stress is normal and even needed, too much of it can affect your quality of life and your health. There are simple things you can do to help relieve stress.
Tips to relieve stress
When you feel stressed, you can:
You also can make some changes in your everyday habits to reduce and relieve stress.
Muscle relaxation to relieve stress
Your body may respond to stress by tensing up, which can cause pain. If you learn to relax your muscles, you can reduce muscle tension and anxiety. Progressive muscle relaxation is an exercise that can help you do this.
In progressive muscle relaxation, you tense and then relax related groups of muscles. You can use a relaxation tape or CD to help you go through all the muscle groups. Or you can learn the muscle groups and work through them from memory.
Find a quiet place where you won't be bothered. Be sure you can lie on your back in comfort.
For each muscle group:
Here are the muscle groups:
Hands and arms
Head and neck
You may feel sleepy after doing this exercise. To "wake up" your body, count backwards from 5 to 1. Then move your fingers, toes, hands, and feet. Finally, stretch and move your entire body.
Be sure you are alert before you drive or do other activities.
Roll breathing to relieve stress
Roll breathing helps you use your lungs better and gets you in touch with the rhythm of your breathing. You can practice it in any position, but it's best to lie on your back, with your knees bent. Practice roll breathing daily for several weeks until you can do it almost anywhere.
When roll breathing, always breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. As you breathe out, make a whooshing sound.
See a picture of roll breathing.
Caution: Some people get dizzy the first few times they try roll breathing. If you begin to breathe very fast or become lightheaded, slow your breathing. Get up slowly.
For more information on dealing with stress, see the topic Stress Management.
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