“I need to get a massage soon!”. “My neck and shoulders are very tight”. “I need to release stress from my feet”. You might have found yourself or someone around you saying these words. Today, these statements have become much more common in the hustle and bustle of life. Over the last 15 years, we as humans have made strides to make our lives easier. From food delivery apps to photo-sharing platforms, from a plethora of OTT options to hundreds of influencers voicing something every day, there is something else that has made strides too. The levels of stress and anxiety in our lives.

We feel these pangs of stress from certain events in our life. Maybe some issue in the office or perhaps a fight with your partner or maybe some issues of health. During these moments of stress, our “fight or flight” syndrome kicks in thus producing cortisol and adrenaline in the body. These remain in the body and tense the muscles over time. And that is why after a few stressful events you feel pain or throbbing or tightness in your neck or shoulders. You might find your digestion to be out of place and a prolonged heaviness in your head.

It is important that we understand that stress gets stored in the body. It is equally necessary to know simple techniques that you can incorporate into your daily lives to relieve stress and release anxiety.

Relieving stress stored in the body

Where is the stress stored and how to ease it?

Forehead

Stress in the forehead is often due to the tightening of muscles around the eyes, brows, and temple.  To relieve stress stored in the forehead, the tensed-up muscles in the face should be relaxed. A preferred method of relaxation is the application of heat to open the pores which helps in loosening the muscle tension. Follow this tip every day to relieve stress stored in the forehead:

  1. Sit or lay down comfortably so that your head is well supported.
  2. Place the tips of your left and right index finger at the center of your forehead.
  3. Press gently and massage them away from each other towards your ears.
  4. Repeat this 5 times.
  5. Now place a warm towel over your forehead while just covering the eyes.
  6. Keep your forehead relaxed and have a few deep breaths while doing so.
  7. Do this for 10 minutes at the end of the day.

Jaw

Often in stressful situations, we have a tendency to clench our jaws. To release anxiety and stress from the jaw, do the following exercise:

  1. Slowly, open your mouth as wide as you can
  2. While doing so, try to feel the muscles in your jaw and observe the tension.
  3. Hold the jaw in an open position for 5 seconds.
  4. While open, move the jaw to the left and then to the right for 2-3 seconds.
  5. Now, slowly close your mouth.
  6. Repeat this 5 times.

Neck

Follow the steps below to stress-proof your neck.

  1. While sitting comfortably, look up towards the ceiling. Stay like this for 10 seconds.
  2. Now without moving your upper body, bring your head down such that your chin touches your chest. Hold for 10 seconds.
  3. Now slowly rotate your neck in a clockwise motion to make a full circle. Do this 2-3 times.
  4. Repeat this in the anti-clockwise direction for 2-3 times.

Shoulder

Shoulders are a muscle group that take a large amount of stress and tighten up. Here is a method to relieve stress from the shoulders:

  1. Take a tennis ball and hold it just below your right shoulder.
  2. Support the ball only through your palm so that it can move freely over the shoulder.
  3. Now, move the ball upward and downward over the shoulder blase 2-3 times.
  4. Repeat this activity with the left shoulder.
  5. Try this activity at the end of the day to release tension built up in the shoulders.

Chest

One of the best ways to deal with stress held up in the chest is through breathing exercises that relax the chest muscles. Additionally, the practice of relaxing breathing techniques can also help in the overall relaxation of the body. Try Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing mentioned below to relax your chest muscles and release stress.

  1. Sit comfortably with your spine straight.
  2. Place both hands over your knees or by your side with the palms facing up.
  3. Exhale and remove any air present in the chest.
  4. Now, inhale deeply through the nose. As you inhale expand your belly/diaphragm like a balloon.
  5. Hold your breath for a couple of seconds.
  6. Exhale using your nose or mouth. As you exhale, contract the belly and pull it back.
  7. Repeat the inhalation and exhalation for 5-7 breaths.
  8. Try this breathing exercise daily in the morning to not only relax your muscles but also to make your mind calmer.

Stomach

Stress is often stored in the stomach and leads to feelings of indigestion and tightening of muscles in the lower abdomen area. The following exercise helps in easing stress in the stomach/ abdomen area.

  1. Do this exercise while standing.
  2. Take a few calm and relaxing breaths to ease the body.
  3. Gently sway your arms back and forth. This opens up your abdomen muscles and releases stress from the otherwise tight muscles.
  4. After a few swings, take 3 deep breaths.
  5. Now repeat the activity for 2-3 minutes to relax your ab and stomach muscles.

Hands

We use our hands for almost every other activity. From cooking to typing to just scrolling on the phone, our hands are always busy. Here is a method to relax your hands.

  1. Clench your hands into a fist.
  2. Now slowly open the fist and spread the fingers as much as you can. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  3. Close the fist again slowly.
  4. Repeat the above exercise of clenching and stretching your hand muscles 5-7 times.

Legs

Our legs, especially calves store a large amount of stress and are one of the most tensed muscles. You must have observed your legs getting sore after a long walk or workout or even after a few days of inactivity. Follow the below exercise to release stress from your legs.

  1. Sit comfortably on the ground with your legs in front. Make sure that you are able to bend both the legs.
  2. Starting with the right leg, use a foam roller and roll it gently but firmly over your thighs in an upward and downward motion. Do this for at least 45 seconds.
  3. Now, use the roller and massage under your thighs for 45 seconds.
  4. Move to the shin. Gently roll the foam roller over the shin for 45 seconds.
  5. Now, use the roller and move it over your calves for at least 1 minute.
  6. Repeat this exercise with your left leg.

Feet

On a daily basis, we move around on hard concrete floors with shoes, heels, sandals, and all other kinds of footwear. We often leave our feet tensed with a lack of walking barefoot in a natural environment. Do these to relieve anxiety and stress:

  1. Prepare warm water in a bucket
  2. Add a few spoons of Epsom salt.
  3. Soak your feet in the bucket for 5 minutes or till the water cools off.
  4. Repeat the process if needed.

Over time the stress is stored in various parts of our body. This impacts your physical, mental, and emotional health with time. So go ahead and incorporate these activities into your life for relieving stress and leading a healthier life!