Simple Ways to Erase Stress

By Sandy Schroeder

If you just wish you had a giant eraser to wipe out the stress in your life, Harvard Health may have the answers that you need.

Stress in today's world is unavoidable. Big and little challenges often create tension, worry and pressure. Stress fills the body with hormones as your heart starts pounding, your muscles tighten, and your breathing races ahead.

If you know the signs, but you can't seem to let go of the tension, some new steps to relax may help you find the calmness that you need.

Here are some techniques to try.

Gradual muscle relaxation - You could lie flat on your mat at home or sit in a quiet place at work. Start with deep breathing and then scan your body, moving from one group of muscles to another. Gradually let go of the tightness throughout the whole body and move on.

Watch a sunset - Or focus on the flowers in your garden. Use your favorite spots to lift your spirits and remind you of what you have. Let them reset the day for you.

Breathe in and breathe out - Use long slow breaths from the abdomen to catch your thoughts and hold them, letting you relax and let go of your tensions and worries. You can use your breath wherever you are, at work, traveling, or waking up at night, to slow everything down and regain your balance.

Try tai chi or yoga - The mind and body meet as you move from one pose to the next, breathing in and breathing out. As you relax, you will also improve your posture, balance and range of motion. Find a local class and observe a session. Talk with the instructor, and check with your doctor before beginning new exercises.

Remember how to laugh - In the midst of everything, I sometimes forget how great it is to giggle my way through a funny old movie. When everything becomes more and more complicated, call some friends, make popcorn, and bring on the movies.

Start moving more - Sometimes when nothing else seems to work to distract me from my bundle of worries, I head out the door and do a brisk walk to the local park. Movement on the court, green or treadmill can be a great distraction. As soon as I start walking, everything changes, usually for the better.

Stress is the enemy of good health. Find a way to outrun it as soon as you can.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Goodyear, Ariz.

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