In today’s society we face a lot of situations that cause stress. Stress can cause diseases like hypertension and can also cause high blood pressure or pulmonary problems that could lead to heart disease. But by taking time to focus on our overall health, we can prevent stress from affecting our lives. It is of utmost importance that people who feel stressed out on a daily basis engage in daily stretching and relaxation techniques so that they are able to handle stress in a healthy way, rather than taking a path that may lead to alcohol or drug abuse. These techniques are most affective in the morning. By doing certain stretches and participating in meditation, you can set yourself up to sufficiently handle stressors that you may face throughout your day. Please consult your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.
Deep Breathing Techniques
This is a form of meditation. Sit with your back against a sturdy wall and place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your stomach to expand and the hand across your stomach to rise upward. The hand on your chest should remain still. Inhale as deeply as possible and hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then exhale. Repeat this 10 times every morning before work. You may even do this on a break or lunch break. While you continue breathing, you will feel your muscles relax as your breath becomes more concentrated and slower.
Walking or Jogging
According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, walking and jogging can provide anxiety relief. The ADAA states that these cardiovascular exercises release endorphins in the brain, otherwise known as “feel good chemicals.” ADAA researchers found that people who vigorously exercise on a regular basis are 25 percent less likely to develop anxiety disorder or depression over the course of five years.
Yoga is a basic term for a series of exercises that work both the mind and the body and help relieve stress and anxiety, improving physical control and balance. The Harvard Health Publication states that yoga exercises are very useful for relieving anxiety and stress. The combination of the mind and body element mixed with one another to soothe your mind and regulate physiological responses to stressful situations.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This technique involves tensing muscles then relaxing them immediately after. It is best to begin at the bottom with your toes and feet. Start with your body standing in a prone position. Contract the muscles in your toes and feet for 10-15 seconds, then relax them. Next do your calves, then legs, hips, abs, chest, neck, and finally your head. If you repeat each exercise you will feel calmer and more able to handle stressful situations.
Meditation is not the boring exercise many believe it to be. Nowadays, there are many ways to meditate to prevent boredom. If you find it difficult to sit quietly and focus on a particular object during meditation, invest in some meditation CDs. These can be used while walking or during any form of mild to moderate cardio exercise. You can also use guided imagery and learn relaxation techniques with certain CDs.
This article was provided by Kelly Elder, live-in nanny and weekend rock climber. If you’ve overlooked the importance of stretching and managed to hurt your back, Kelly recommends seeing the trusted doctors at Gulf Coast Spine Care.