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Reduce Tension

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Even when a stressor is not under your control, there are things you can do to reduce that stress.  When you recognize warning signs of stress, such as muscle tension or restlessness, you need to find a way to relieve the tension.  Three strategies that can help you to relieve tension are physical activity, relaxation, and bio-feedback.  These methods work by altering the physical states of your body.

Physical Activity - Bicycling, taking a walk, playing the drums - these are some ways to release tension when you are under stress.  By doing something by doing somethig physically active, you provide your body with a healthy outlet for built-up energy.  At the same time, you shift your focus from your problems to the task at hand.  This gives your mind a chance to relax too. 

You do not have to be an athlete to use physical activity to manage stress.  The activities you choose do not have to be competitive sports, and you do not have to be the best at them.  Instead, select activities that you enjoy.  If you enjoy an activity, you are most likely to do it on a regular basis.  Try to incorporate the physical activity into your daily routine.  That way, you will always have a way to work of the day's tension. 

Relaxation - The goal of relaxation techniques is to give your mind and body a rest.  When you are relaxed, you may be awake and alert, ut you are not responding actively to stressors.  you may relax your mid by reading a book, taking a nap, listening to music, or doing something creative such as playing the guitar.  You can relax tense muscles by taking a hot shower or bath, stretching, or having someone massage your neck.  Deep breathing is a relaxation method that offers quick relief from stress.  Take a few deep breaths in a row.  Slowly breathe as much air as you can through your nose.  Hold the air in for a few seconds, and then slowly exhale from your mouth.  Place one hand on your chest and one on your abdomen as you exhale.  Your abdomen should expand more than your chest.  When you breathe deeply, you take in more oxygen, which helps your body to function better.

Bio-Feedback - Some methods for coping with stress require training and equipment.  An example is bio-feedback.  With bio-feedback, people learn to control one or more body functions by monitoring their bodies' responses.  The functions that they learn to control are one that are often affected by stress, such as heart rate or blood pressure.  A trained health professional usually teaches bio-feedback.  The health professional might, for example, attach a device to the patient's back muscles that measures muscle tension.  The results are displayed on a monitor.  The patient can see when the muscles are tensed and identify thoughts that are causing the tension.  The patient then learns to control the tension by changing his or her thoughts.  In time, many people can recognize muscle tension and control it without using the equipment.  For people who suffer from headaches or asthma, bio-feedback can be useful.  Studies have shown that people with asthma may be able to reduce their need for medication by learning to control their heartrates. 



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