Have you been feeling tense and stressed out lately? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, a recent Gallup poll found that 8 in 10 Americans are afflicted by stress. And, 44 percent of people say they frequently feel stressed out.
This is a major concern, as stress can lead to other problems, such as weight gain, sleeping issues, and anxiety and depression.
Luckily, there are things you can do to relieve stress and tension.
Check out this guide to learn how to release tension and stress in your life.
Meditation is one of the most powerful antidotes for stress. While you’re in a meditative state, your body decreases its production of stress hormones, namely, cortisol and adrenaline.
Meditation also helps to increase neurotransmitters that are associated with calmness, such as serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin.
And, you don’t need to meditate for hours to reap these benefits. Even just 20 to 30 minutes of meditation per day can make all the difference.
2. Breathe Deeply
You may not have 20 to 30 minutes to meditate, but you do have a few minutes to focus on your breathing.
Take a five-minute break from whatever it is you’re doing, sit up straight, close your eyes, and place your hands on your belly. Then, slowly inhale through your nose. As you inhale, feel your abdomen as your breathing begins, and pay attention to how it works its way to the top of your head.
Then, reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.
Exercising is one of the best ways to release tension and combat stress. The benefits of exercise are strongest when you do it on a regular basis. Most experts recommend exercising for 30 minutes, five days per week.
There are a few reasons why exercising is so beneficial:
Exercise can lower your body’s stress hormones, both in the long-term and in the short-term.
It can also help to increase the levels of endorphins in your body, which are chemicals that boost your mood and act as natural pain killers.
When you exercise on a regular basis, you feel more confident about your body. This, in turn, can improve your mental well-being and relieve tense and stress in your body.
Exercise can also enhance your quality of sleep. If you’re not sleeping well, then you’re more likely to hold onto stress and tension in your body.
Experts recommend that you get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep per night.
4. Reduce Excessive Stimulation
We live in such an overstimulated world that it can sometimes be difficult to notice how much we’re bombarded with noise, music, bright lights, information, and other distractions.
All this information entering through your senses requires processing, which can lead to an increased stress response.
In order to create a calmer space in your mind, you need to reduce the sensory overload in your life. Reducing sensory overload means something different to everyone.
For some, this might mean turning off all electronic devices for 24 hours and instead, spending time in nature or time with friends. For others, this may mean getting rid of background noise by turning off ceiling fans or humming fluorescent lines or closing open windows.
If you’re someone who feels overstimulated by smells, then you should avoid wearing perfumes, using air fresheners, and using scented candles.
By reducing the stimulation in your life, you’ll reduce tension levels and experience more balance and peace.
5. Keep a Journal
Even if you’re not the type of person to keep a diary, journaling can really make all the difference when it comes to the levels of tension and stress in your body.
One of the major benefits of journaling is that it stops you from ignoring or burying stressful experiences. If, instead, you write about these stressful experiences, you’ll be able to process what happened. Then, you’ll be able to keep what serves you and then forget about the rest.
Here are some journaling tips to make the most of your experience:
- Start your journaling by recapping each day, without attaching any judgments or interpretations to anything that happened
- List intentions for the day, week, or for your life
- End each journaling session by writing down a few things that you’re grateful for. This will help you stay focused on the positive
Also, if you don’t want someone stumbling upon your journal, you can shred your entry at the end of each day. This can help you release yourself from the stressors of the day and detach from what you wrote so you can start anew the next day.
However, it can also be fun to look back a year from when you started journaling to see how much you’ve grown, so you may also want to consider keeping your pages.
6. Get a Massage
One of the quickest (and arguably most relaxing) ways to relieve tension from your body is to get a massage.
Not only can a massage relieve stress and tension in your body, but it can also:
- Improve circulation
- Reduce pain
- Improve sleep and flexibility
- Boost immunity
- Reduce fatigue
- Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Eliminate toxins
If you can’t afford a massage at a spa, then consider investing in an at-home massage product, such as the ones on www.ilovefootmassage.com.
7. Be More, Do Less
We’ve all probably heard the quote “We’re human beings, not human doings”.
While this quote may be a bit cheesy, the sentiment behind it certainly rings true. In the fast-paced world we live in, most of us put more weight on how much we get done in a day rather than on how present we are throughout the day.
But, if you look around, you’ll likely find that the people who do less are a lot less stressed than the people who are constantly on the go. And, if you were to examine these people’s bodies, you’d probably find that they have fewer symptoms of chronic stress, less inflammation, lower blood pressure, and better hormonal balance.
Here are some tips to practice “just being” more:
- Multitask less: Although multitasking can help you get a lot done, studies show that media multitasking (that is, doing things on more than one device) is associated with symptoms of depression and social anxiety
- Look at your to-do list for the day and remove one item, and use the time you’d spend to complete this item to ‘just be’
- Find a nice spot outside and take in all of your surroundings, paying attention to what you see, hear, smell, and taste
- Sit quietly and notice the sensations in your body
When you first start the practice of just being, you’ll likely notice some resistance and even some boredom. However, the more you stick to this practice, the more you’ll crave the sensation of just being.
8. Crank the Tunes
One of the easiest ways to reduce tension and stress in your body is to listen to music.
In fact, studies show that listening to music that has around 60 beats per minute will cause the brain to synchronize with the beat. This then causes alpha brainwaves, which are the types of brainwaves that are present when we are conscious and relaxed.
If you’d like to induce sleep from listening to calming music, then you should listen for around 45 minutes.
So, what type of music should you listen to exactly? Studies find that listening to Celtic, Native American, or Indian stringed-instrument music is very effective when played at moderately loud volumes.
It can also be effective to listen to nature sounds, such as the sound of rain, thunder, waterfalls, or waves crashing on the shore.
Others find it very calming to listen to static noise, such as white noise or pink noise.
9. Drink Herbal Tea
A large dose of caffeine can cause a spike in your blood pressure, which can send your stress levels into overdrive.
This is why we recommend swapping out the cup of coffee every once in awhile for a nice soothing cup of tea. Some of the best types of tea for relieving stress include:
- Lemon balm
- Holy basil
10. Talk it Out With a Friend
Last but not least, if you’re feeling stressed out, don’t be afraid to turn to a friend for help.
Listening to a reassuring voice, even just for a minute, can really help put things into perspective.
If you’re not entirely comfortable opening up to your friends or you feel like your problems may be too big for them to handle, then you may want to consider seeing a therapist.
How to Release Tension: Are You Ready to Stress Less?
As you can see, there’s a lot that you can do to release tension and stress in your body.
And, now that you know how to release tension, it’s time to take a few or more of these tips and put them into action.
And, be sure to check back in with our blog for more stress-relief tips and tricks.