What do you do when the tie that you knotted on your wedding day is no longer feeling particularly blessed?
Every relationship has its ups and downs that mirror our changing lives. Yet when you find yourself unable to cope with the cumulative effects of physical and emotional stress from unrelenting demands that often accompanies your modern life, you risk hurting yourself internally as much as you may feel hurt by others externally.
Excessive chronic stress from conflicts in relationships, whether they be marital, work-related, family or life in general can result in serious health conditions. These include anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.
You may think you can tolerate long periods of stress, but your immune system will relay different information.
Nothing is as bad as it seems. Nothing. There is a benefit and a blessing hidden in the folds of every experience and every outcome. That includes every and any ‘bad’ thing that may be happening to you right now. Change your perspective. Know that nothing happens ever that is not for your highest good.
~ Neale Donald Walsch
Stress affects the hormone cortisol produced by the adrenal glands. In small quantities cortisol is helpful. It is anti-inflammatory, speeds tissue repair and controls excess immune cell production. Imbalanced amounts of cortisol plummets healthy function of our immune system. Research shows that stress can contribute to the development of major illnesses, such as heart disease, depression and obesity.
Everyone is different and so are the ways they choose to release stress. When you are unable to cope with your stress, you demonstrate more anxiety in our relationships and may even experience chronic body pain.
So how can you release anxiety in your life in order to maintain a healthy body and loving relationships?
As a licensed massage practitioner I see many clients who are experiencing the side effects of stressful living. Everything from migraine headaches to muscle soreness, back pains, neck and jaw tension to inter-muscular tension making deep breathing difficult. I am always delighted to observe how the body is able to release stress imposed tensions through regular massage.
How can you continue the process of relaxation and incorporate stress reduction techniques in your own life? Try finding positive, healthy ways to manage stress as it occurs and you will find many of the negative health consequences can be reduced.
Here are seven simple yet effective tips to release stress:
Breathe. As simple as it sounds, there is incredible physiological restorative value in slow deep intentional breathing. Let your exhales release with an audible “Ah” as if sighing and letting go of the tension. When you’re stressed this may seem difficult to practice, so start practicing mindful breathing daily helping it to become second nature when you feel stress levels rising in your body.
Exercise. Exercise benefits your mind just as well as your body in helping to relieve stress. The benefits are long lasting and continue well beyond once you have completed your walk or workout. Doesn’t have to be marathon training to be effective. A simple 20-minute walk will do.
Smile and laugh. Our brains are interconnected with our emotions and facial expressions. When people are stressed, they often hold a lot of stress in their face. You can relieve some of those tensions by moving your facial muscles into various expressions (including smiling) and thereby sending new messages to your brain and nervous system.
Meditate. Meditation and mindfulness help the mind and body to relax and focus. When people quiet themselves in mindfulness, they often are able to see new perspectives, release emotions that may have been causing the body physical stress. Much like exercise, research has shown that the benefits can be immediate.
Healing Sound. Listening to soothing music is beneficial in reducing high blood pressure and changing your responses to stress factors. The vibration of sound can be very transformative both emotionally and physically.
Take a time out. A simple 20 minutes of stepping away from it will allow you time to use these techniques to bring you back into balance.
Self-Evaluate. Write down those areas in your life where you feel stressed. By identifying those areas in our life where you feel overloaded, you begin to untangle the pressure of feeling overwhelmed. Prioritize what you can accomplish and release the need to do everything.
Use these techniques to help you release stress for just 40 days and be amazed in how many ways your relationships will change for the better.