Stress Relief and Relaxation - Overview
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
- Take slow, deep breaths.
- Soak in
a warm bath.
- Listen to soothing music.
- Take a walk or
do some other activity.
- Meditate or
- Take a yoga class.
- Have a massage or back
- Have a warm drink that doesn't have alcohol or
You also can make some changes in your everyday habits to
reduce and relieve stress.
- Get plenty of sleep.
connected to your family, friends, and other caring people in your
- Get regular exercise. It can help you clear your mind and
work off feelings of frustration and anxiety.
- Don't drink or eat
anything that has caffeine in it. Caffeine can make you feel "wound up" and
- Don't smoke or use tobacco. Nicotine can make you
feel more anxious.
- Don't drink alcohol. It can cause sleep problems
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.
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
Find a quiet place where you won't be bothered. Be sure
you can lie on your back in comfort.
For each muscle group:
- Breathe in and tense the muscle group for 4
to 10 seconds. Tense hard, but not to the point of cramping.
breathe out while you suddenly and completely relax the muscle group. Don't
relax it gradually.
- Rest for 10 to 20 seconds.
Here are the muscle groups:
Hands and arms
- Hands: Make a tight fist.
and forearms: Tense them and bend your hands back at the
- Biceps and upper arms: Make your hands into fists, bend your
arms at the elbows, and tense your biceps.
- Shoulders: Shrug
Head and neck
- Forehead: Wrinkle it into a deep
- Around the eyes and bridge of the nose: Close your eyes as
tightly as possible. If you wear contact lenses, remove them before beginning
- Cheeks and jaws: Smile as widely as you
- Around the mouth: Press your lips together
- Back of the neck: Press your head back against the
- Front of the neck: Touch your chin to your chest.