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Migraines & Headaches Health Center

Reduce Stress to Prevent Headaches

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Use Relaxation Techniques

Any type of relaxation method can be very helpful to prevent stress headaches.

Some techniques you can try are:

  • Meditation
  • Deep breathing
  • Progressive muscle relaxation (tensing and then relaxing all the major muscle groups, one at a time)

Take slow, deep breaths. Think of something that makes you feel happy and calm. Listen to music or take a walk in nature. Gentle exercises like yoga and tai chi can also help.

Take a Break

Having too much going on in your life can lead to tension headaches. Pare down your activities so you're not over-extended.

Take a break from stressful situations. Even a few minutes can help. Withers suggests going outside. "Go for a walk and get some fresh air," she says. That will stimulate your senses and shift your awareness to something other than whatever is making you feel stressed.

Carve out "me" time regularly. If you have a full schedule with a lot of demands, improve your time management by breaking large tasks into smaller chunks.

Connect With Others

Spend time with people who are important to you, like friends and family.

Get involved in your community. Volunteering is a powerful way to feel good and relieve stress.

"It can be an uplifting way to change how you feel about your life and at the same time positively impact someone else's life in a profound way," Withers says.

Get Support

If you have underlying stress, it can lead to headaches. Talk to someone about what may be making you feel tense.

A professional counselor can help you figure out what's upsetting you and teach you strategies for managing stress.

Use Good Posture

It helps to keep your body relaxed. Holding it the right way can prevent neck strain and muscle tension. Stand tall and don't slouch.

When you read, keep your neck in line with your body instead of letting it bend forward. When you use the computer, make sure the screen is at eye level.

Keep your face relaxed. Don't clench your jaw, which can lead to muscle tension.

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Reviewed on December 01, 2014

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