Stress has become a daily part of our lives and can cause many different symptoms.
Stress has become a daily part of our lives and can cause many different symptoms. People can be fatigued or sleepless, changes in appetite and the way our bodies use the nutrients we put in.
Headache, backache and chest pain or muscle spasms are other physical symptoms. Emotionally we can become irritable, anxious or depressed, have frequent crying jags or a negative attitude.
There can be a feeling of numbness or feelings of being overwhelmed and out of control. People can have poor concentration and let little things bother them.
In order to help control these physical and emotional manifestations of stress you can stretch.
Stretching helps to relieve stress and gives us other benefits as well. Stretching reduces the stress hormone our body makes. The blood flow to the muscles increase and any muscles or joints that are tight will relax. Joints have a better range of motion and flexibility increases. Feelings of stress, fatigue and anxiety are reduced. Mental alertness is increased and posture is improved which will also reduce aches and pains.
To reduce stress stretches should be held for a good amount of time. You can focus on the area that is holding stress, for me my shoulders, or full body. As you stretch think about the area being stretched and imagine the tension leaving your body. Exhale into the stretch and inhale on the release, breathe deeply and slowly. Close your eyes for better body awareness.
Here are a couple stretches to help.
The crescent stretch, sitting or standing raise your hands over your head, interlock your fingers and as you exhale move your hands and arms to the right, then take several deep breaths and inhale as you move your hands back to overhead, repeat on the other side.
The arm and shoulder stretch can easily be done at your desk. Pull one arm straight across your body, reach under and place your other hand on your bicep, using that hand for leverage pull your arm into a nice relaxing stretch.
The modified child’s pose, sit on your legs, with your knees bent and feet touching. Spread your legs about shoulder width apart, place a pillow or rolled blanket between your legs and come down onto the pillow with your legs bent and your spine stretched towards the floor, allow your arms to rest on the floor.