Stretch and Massage Away Stress
When you are low on energy, your muscles tend to be tight and contracted. It makes you feel like you are sleep deprived. Sitting all day compounds the problem. Stretching can help ease and prevent this muscle tightness and improve overall flexibility.
As you hold a stretch and then release it, you can actually feel the targeted muscles begin to relax. Do four or five different stretches several times throughout the day.
Here's one effective upper-body tension tamer:
- Sit tall and raise arms above you. Interlace fingers; turn palms upward.
- Push arms slightly back as you straighten them. Hold for ten to twenty seconds; release.
Massage for Stress
Another great stress reliever is massage. Massage reduces muscle tension, stress, and improves mental energy. A study done for five weeks on adults with stressful jobs and home lives gave upper body massages to one group, twice a week, 15 minutes each session. Another group just sat quietly for two 15 minute sessions each week. Each group was given anxiety, depression and job stress evaluations prior to each 15 minutes session. After five weeks, both groups were less depressed, but only the massaged group scored lower in job stress and anxiety. The group also performed better on a math exam when re-tested.
The International Massage Association, who conducted the tests, states that massage relaxes muscles, which increases circulation and sends more oxygen to the brain, enhancing mental alertness.