The Holidays are coming! This is a fun and exciting part of the year, however, all that planning, traveling, party throwing/attending, and family and friend get-togethers can be stressful and draining. It is important to be mindful and attend to your body’s needs. Stress can present differently for different people, and its symptoms can affect your body physically, your mind emotionally, and your behavior. Being able to recognize the symptoms of stress can give you the ability to manage them properly and effectively.
Stress can cause a “fight or flight response”; while this response is necessary in extreme situations, it can also be very draining and difficult on your body if activated constantly by stresses of daily life. The “fight or flight response” is your nervous system being flooded with chemicals to prepare your body for action. It is obviously impossible to avoid all stress, but learning how to counteract this with a response of relaxation and allowing your body to bring itself back to equilibrium is a healthy habit to have. You many notice that when you are stressed your heart rate increased, your blood pressure elevates, your breathing may increase, your body may ache, your muscles may feel tight, and your mind is racing. Find the relaxation technique that is right for you is the key to success! A variety of relaxation techniques can provide physical calming effects, increased energy, provide focus, relieve aches and pains, combat illnesses and improve quality of life.
For example; if you feel like everything is racing and out of control; using activities that quiet the body such as meditation, slow muscle stretching and relaxation, or guided imagery may help. There are many easy ways to learn how to meditate, including online websites or applications for phones. A progressive muscle relaxation technique may also be helpful; this involves a systematic tensing and relaxation of different muscle groups in the body. It allows your body to become more focused. Taking time to do this each day can be beneficial. Others may find it helpful to practice an applicable stress relief technique. This would include a rhythmic and full body activity including walking, running, dancing, yoga or focused stretching. It can be advantageous to focus one’s mind and notice how the body moves with all the sensations provided. Another common practice is deep breathing; which can be included into all activities and used in combination with other stress relievers. This includes taking deep breaths from deep down in your belly, rather than shallow breaths from your upper chest. This allows you to take in more oxygen and feel less short of breath and less anxious. This technique does take some practice, but is very helpful.
The best way to start and be successful with a relaxation technique is to work it into your daily routine. Happy Holiday Season!! From Mizuta & Associates Physical Therapy.