Exercises to Help Relieve Stress

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3 Exercises to Relieve Stress

No matter how much you enjoy your job or try to stay positive throughout the day, there will always be times when you’re stressed out and overwhelmed.

Stress happens, it’s natural.

So what can we do to help relieve mental and physical tension? Here are 3 things you can do to help yourself relax and conquer stressful situations.

1. Physical Exercise

Having a job that requires you to sit or stand at a desk most of the day can take a toll on your body and mind. Personally, I’m no stranger to super busy days where I’ve been sitting at my desk almost all day (and not with the best posture I must admit). I’ve found it’s extremely helpful to relax by getting physical exercise either after the workday or even in the middle of the day if I have time.

Harvard Medical School mentioned in an article that aerobic exercise is the “key for your head, just as it is for your heart” and that it brings “remarkable changes to your body, your metabolism, your heart, and your spirits.” In clinical studies, athletes have been able to treat anxiety disorders and clinical depression with exercise. On a physical level, exercise reduces your body’s level of stress hormones while stimulating endorphins.

My favorite exercises when I’m feeling stressed out are running and yoga. Running helps me clear my mind and release any built up anxiety from throughout the day. Yoga is great for relaxing and stretching all my muscles, especially my back that tends to feel the worst after a long day sitting at a desk.

2. Breathing Techniques

When you’re stressed, it can cause rapid and shallow breathing. Use breathing techniques to help slow down your breathing and help you relax. It’s also something you can do anywhere, anytime. Here are Harvard’s instructions:

    1. Breathe in slowly and deeply, pushing your stomach out so that your diaphragm is put to maximal use.
    2. Hold your breath briefly.
    3. Exhale slowly, thinking “relax.”
    4. Repeat the entire sequence five to 10 times, concentrating on breathing deeply and slowly.

 

3. Progressive Muscular Relaxation

Relaxing all of your muscles and focusing on where there is tension in the body is an excellent way to relieve stress. I used to take an aerobics class where every Friday, after working out, we would use progressive muscular relaxation. I highly recommend it!

Focus on slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group. Start with your facial muscles and work your way down to your toes.

Tense each muscle for 5-20 seconds and then relax for 30 seconds before you move on to the next one. It helps to be in a quiet, secluded place. You can also put on some relaxing music. Soon you’ll find that your entire body is relaxed and all the tension that built up from stress or physical strain is released.

Use these 3 techniques to help relieve stress that can easily creep into your workday. Then you’ll be able to refocus your mind with a clear head and a relaxed body.

 

 

Sources: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/relaxation-technique/art-20045368?pg=2