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Destress Yourself! Tame the Tension with These Top Tips

Destress Yourself! Tame the Tension with These Top Tips

April is National Stress Awareness Month! And I want to help.

Everyone goes through some types of stress in their lifetime. Some may be positive stress which can help motivate you to perform during a basketball game, prepare for a job interview, or mentally prepare for having your first child.

Getting stuck in traffic, having a fight with a loved one, or being overwhelmed with work can induce negative stress which can cause significant health problems.

If these stresses continue to build for a long period of time and are not addressed, it can be a chronic issue. Common physical symptoms of stress includes headaches, muscle aches and pain, insomnia, frequent colds/infections, changes in appetite, low energy, and significant mood changes.

I am currently planning my wedding for this summer. I just began the process of planning and am already feeling overwhelmed. These are my tips to try to minimize my stress and avoid transforming into a “BRIDEZILLA.”

1. Breathe Deeply

Performing diaphragmatic breathing can be very helpful to calm the mind and heart when feeling overwhelmed. Lie down on your back or sit up. Place your hand on your chest and stomach, and try to deep breathe down into the diaphragm so your hand on your stomach rises and minimize the movement from your chest.

2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

This technique helps to relax already tense muscles by teaching to release the tension in those muscles.

To perform, take a deep breath in and tighten targeted muscles for 5 seconds. (ie: squeeze your shoulders, arms, and fist). Be careful not to hurt yourself while tensing your muscles! Then exhale, and release your muscles letting all the tightness go for a count of 15 seconds. Your muscles should feel looser and limp.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep is correlated to higher stress levels. Most adults feel 7-9 hours of sleep is adequate.

4. Exercise

Daily exercise can elevate your mood by producing endorphins.

5. Music

Listening to music can help the brain switch off the stress response.

6. Laughter is the Best Medicine

Laughter helps to stimulate circulation and muscle relaxation which aids in reducing some physical symptoms of stress.

7. Make a List to Organize

To help handle each specific tasks in life, making a checklist can make you feel more in control, and very satisfied when tasks are completed.

8. Reach Out and Talk to Someone

Having a close, confiding relationship protects you from many stresses.

I hope these can help you better manage your stress as well.

What are you favorite ways to minimize stress in your life?
Leave your reply in the comments below!

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Sharon Ho-Burnett, PT, DPT
Sharon grew up enjoying a variety of sports including swimming, gymnastics, tae kwon do, volleyball, basketball, track & field, and lacrosse. She continues to stay active by working out, hiking, and running. Other personal hobbies include traveling, cooking (and eating), and watching scary movies.