Stress. Yeah, life is stressful. It’s our work, daily obligations, family, even traffic, plus whatever else it is we have going on in our day that all take a toll on us and sometimes we don’t even realize it. Our bodies are amazing entities, really. They know what’s wrong with us long before we do. Have you ever noticed how your body holds on to stress? It’s many other places than just our minds.
I’ll say right now that I guarantee there are many more ways than I’m going to list, but I’m going to try to explain some of the ways our bodies hold on to stress and some things that work for me when I catch myself feeling overly tense. This is pretty different than anything I have written before and i’m not a doctor by any means but this is what I’ve noticed and what works for me, if any of you know more please feel free to add it in the comments!
I would say the main place to hold stress for me is in my jaw and neck, I usually notice them because I’ll start to get really bad headaches. If you carry stress here you’ll most likely clench your jaw and grind your teeth, which tightens your neck. You’ll also press your tongue onto the roof of your mouth. I never realized I did this so much until I was looking for it, but it was so crazy for me to recognize. When I catch myself doing this usually I just release my tongue from the roof of my mouth and take some breaths and that helps for the time being. Another thing that might sound weird but does help is pressing down on the muscles used to clench your jaw and slowly open and close your mouth, doing that a few times will actually release the tension.
Another common one is our shoulders. When we start to feel tense in our shoulders we start to hunch forward or pull our shoulders by our necks which not only is uncomfortable but gives us really bad posture! I know it seems so simple but once I notice my shoulders are tense try to drop them and take deep breaths, also pulling my arms back and stretching my chest and shoulders seems to help too.
Lastly I have noticed personallly that sometimes I hold stress in my back and hips. Which you’ll usually know if you have tight hips and lower back pain, obviously there are other factors that can cause pain here but stress is one of them. Also, I notice when I cross my legs I kind of press my ankles together? Weird, I know. For this one I usually just try to stretch them out as much as possible and try to recognize if I am adding any extra tension.
Again these are just things I have noticed in myself and thought might be helpful to others. We get these tensions from everyday activities but just by noticing them when they happen and doing some of the things I mentioned to release them has helped me a ton. Of course this isn’t written towards relieving anything that might be causing stress, but these help with the day to day tensions. I also want to really quickly mention some other things that help control stress. Things like going for walks or at least getting some type of fresh air everyday; exercising, whether you like to run, lift weights, do yoga or whatever, it’s all so good and so important. Although lifting weights does add stress on the body it helps relieve anything that might be on my mind. Eating well also helps me, it may or may not have to do with stress but it just overall makes me feel better. Lastly, sleeping is probably one of the most important if not the most. If you’re not getting enough sleep or not on a consistent schedule you’re either going to a) feel tired all the time and that will add stress and reduce your productivity, or b) take naps throughout the day which will make your body confused, which also will add stress and reduce productivity. Getting enough good sleep at night just helps with everything all around in my opinion. These are kind of cliche and sound like they should be common sense but they work so I thought I should share.
I hope something on this post was helpful to you, and if you have any tips or ideas to add let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading ☀☀☀