6 Ways to Release the Stress in Your Neck, Shoulders, and Back
We’ve all been there. You get home after a long day at work and the very first thing you want to do is just collapse on your bed — alone. But, after only a few minutes of being horizontal, you start feeling this nagging pain creep up your neck, shoulders and back. It’s not exactly the best company to keep on such a nice evening.
Go for a walk
One easy way to relieve stress from your body is to go for a walk outside. Studies have shown that a light walk outside can actually reduce stress hormone levels by as much as 68%. It may sound too good to be true, but it really is that effective. And not only can walking outside help reduce stress levels in your body, but it can also help boost your mood and improve your overall health.
Practice deep breathing exercises
When you breathe from your abdomen, you activate your parasympathetic nervous system (or your “rest and digest” response). And when you do that, you can actually lower your heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels. Basically, deep breathing is like pressing the “off” button on your stress. If you can, try to find a quiet place where you can close your eyes and breathe deeply for a few minutes. This can be incredibly helpful when you’re feeling anxious or stressed. If you can’t get to a quiet place, try to visualize a place where you feel relaxed, like a beach or a forest, and imagine yourself there while you’re breathing deeply.
Try a neck massage
You have to understand that when you’re under a ton of stress, your body tends to hold onto all of that tension in your neck and shoulders. There are plenty of great tutorials online that show you how to properly massage different parts of your body, including your neck. Another thing to note is that when you massage your neck, you also want to make sure you’re gently rubbing or pressing your upper back. This will help loosen up the tension that may be lingering up there.
Stretch your body
Choose a few that focus on the specific areas of your body that feel the most tense. When you stretch, you’re basically allowing your body to relax even more. You’re also increasing blood flow to the muscles, which helps break down any tension that’s built up in your body. So, if your neck is feeling a little too tight, a few stretches are a great way to start releasing that tension and feeling more relaxed. If you’re not exactly sure which stretches are best for your neck, there are plenty of online guides that can help you out.
Take a hot shower or bath
The warm water can help relax your muscles, while also helping you unwind and maybe even fall asleep. When you’re under stress, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. This hormone actually shrinks your blood vessels, which is what causes the aches, pains and tension in your neck and shoulders. A hot shower or bath can help reduce cortisol levels, which can help ease the tension in your body. If you’re feeling like your neck and shoulders are extra tense, you can try putting some Epsom salts in your bath, which can also help relieve aches and pains.
If you’re feeling stressed It’s important to find ways to relieve it, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed. If you’ve been neglecting your stress relief techniques, make it a priority to find time for them again. And don’t forget, the more you practice these techniques, the more effective they’ll be.
This article is written by a therapist from Sensera – a self-help app that provides daily CBT audio sessions and exercises. The app helps people deal with a variety of mental issues (anxiety, low self-esteem, relationship problems). Download Sensera now to become happier!