I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that stress leads to muscle tension. That tension can lead to pain if left to its own devices. Well, I’m a firm believer that life is too short for pain. It’s also too short to stay all wound up from your stresses. If your stress management strategy doesn’t include some simple stretches to undo some of that muscle tension, today’s your lucky day. I’ve got a short list of stress-relieving stretches that you can do practically anywhere.
1. Lion Face – This stretch will help undo all the jaw clenching and squinting or eye narrowing that happens when you’re stressed. Open your mouth as wide as you can, stick your tongue out, and make your eyes as big and bulgy as you can. Hold for a few seconds and relax. If you want, you can even make your hands into claws and growl like a lion to help get rid of some of your pent up frustrations. Repeat several times throughout the day. I hope you all realize how much I must love you if I’m willing to post this picture of myself 🙂
2. Upper Arm & Shoulder Stretch – Here’s a great way to un-cramp your arms and shoulders after spending hours on the computer. Clasp your hands in front of you, straighten your arms, and turn your palms out. Raise your arms over head and reach for the ceiling. Keep reaching with your arms and bring them back as far as you can. Hold for a few seconds. Repeat several times throughout the day.
3. Forearm Stretch – If you spend a lot of time on a computer, your forearms may be tighter than you realize. Use this simple stretch to keep them feeling great. Straighten your right arm out in front of you and raise your right hand so the fingers point toward the ceiling. With your left hand, slowly and gently pull your right hand back towards your body. Hold a few seconds and repeat on the other side. Repeat this whole process several times throughout the day.
4. Thigh stretch – If you sit all day, the fronts of your thighs will be tight. This stretch will help the stress drain out of those tight thigh muscles. Kneel on the floor, lean back and place your hands behind your feet. Feel the stretch in the front of your thighs. Lean farther back or arch your back to feel a deeper stretch if you need to. Hold for a few seconds and relax. Repeat several times throughout the day.
5. Ankle and Calf Stretch – Sitting can cause your ankles and calves to become stiff. Try this easy stretch to re-energize them. Sit straight legged on the floor or put them across another chair. Point the toes of the right foot and bring the toes of your left foot back towards your nose. Hold a few seconds and switch sides so that the right toes are pointing towards your nose and the left toes are pointed away from you. Hold a few seconds, then relax. Repeat several time throughout the day. Many of these stretches may cause you to yawn, and that yawn is just another form of stress release. I find that the more I do each stretch, the less I yawn. Sometimes, I have enough time to keep stretching until I no longer yawn, but not always… it depends on how much stress I have and how much time for stretching I have. Either way, feeling the need to yawn at the end of one of these stretches is a good indication of how much you needed it. How do you relieve stress induced muscle tension? Do you know someone who could benefit from some stress relief? Why not share these stretches with them. There are some handy buttons right below this post to help you do it with just one click.