April is National Stress Awareness Month, a time to increase efforts and education that can reduce America’s epidemic of stress. It’s important to understand that stress doesn’t generally stay just in your head, where the worries reside–it can affect many other areas of your body, too. If stress is making you irritable, tired, or achy, check out some no-hassle tips that can allow you to relax a little, lessen your stress and give you some relief.
- Adjust your posture. If you sit all day long at work–hunched over your computer, stressin’ about your job–you could be spending many hours in a slumpy position, putting added stress on your neck and spine. Be mindful of how you’re sitting at your desk and adjust your posture so that you’re sitting up straight.
- Consider massage. More than one third of the over 100 million massage appointments are for therapeutic massage. Massage therapy can reduce achiness…plus it could provide you with a much-needed hour of stress-free relaxation.
- Get in touch with your inner yogi. Yoga can help stressed-out people feel more relaxed by reducing the amount of tension in the body. As a side benefit, yoga can also help with improving posture.
- Just breathe. Breathing therapy can be done at home, and it’s always free! This involves integrating meditation, movement, breathing, and body awareness all at once; these promote a relaxing mind-body connection that can help lessen stress and tension.
- Take a minute for yourself. 60 seconds is all you need to engage in one of these relaxing activities that can reduce your muscle tension.
- Think happy thoughts. Don’t underestimate the power of positive thinking. Studies have shown that optimism and pessimism can affect your stress level and well-being.
- Walk it out. Taking a walk is not only a healthy activity, but it can also allow you to escape a stressful environment for a while.
- Get giggly. There’s something to that old “laughter is the best medicine” adage. Laughter can reduce the the levels of stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine, while increasing levels of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins.
Want more help reducing stress? The National Stress Awareness Month website has three free publications available to help you learn about and reduce stress. Click here to download them. Or, consider talking to a counselor who can help you work through some of your stress.
Please note: Before engaging in exercise or undergoing massage therapy, it’s recommended to consult your doctor to verify that these types of activities are safe for you to do.