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Simple Stretches to Relieve Tension and Reduce Stress

Simple Stretches to Relieve Tension and Reduce Stress

Try these simple stretches for instant relaxation and calm.

Tight shoulders? Stiff neck? Sore head?

With the majority of us staring at a computer screen and our phones all day, neck and shoulder pain seems to go hand and hand with a long day at work.

If only we could all have a live-in masseuse!

Muscle tension is your body’s reaction to stress – it is trying to guard against injury and pain [1]. To turn “off” this reaction, it is important to turn “on” your relaxation response. One simple thing you can do to relieve tension and reduce stress is stretching.

Stretching is a small thing to do but it has big benefits. It has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, improve circulation, increase concentration, and aid in deep breathing [2]. We all know that when we feel less stressed and anxious, we are in a better mood and feel happier.

There are many stretches you can try, but here are a few of the favorites that make us feel instantly relaxed and refreshed. You can try just one or if you have a few more minutes, you can move through each of the stretches. It can be the perfect wind-down routine before bed or a great way to take a self-care moment. Now there is beauty in that!

So take a deep breath and say goodbye to all that tension and stress.

Neck Circle Stretch

Neck circle stretches are a simple and easy way to reduce tension and relieve stress in your neck and shoulders. The key here is to move slowly and to keep your neck relaxed.

Neck Circle Stretch

How to do it:

  1. You can do this stretch either standing up or sitting down with your arms relaxed by your side.
  2. Tilt your chin down and slowly move your right ear to your right shoulder.
  3. Continue to slowly move your head in a circular motion, bringing your left ear to your left shoulder.
  4. Once you’ve reached the starting position, repeat the stretch in the opposite direction.
  5. Repeat three to five times.

Reclining Spinal Twist Stretch

Twist stretches are renowned for their balancing and toning powers and are frequently used in yoga practice [3]. This reclining spinal twist stretch is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, leaving you feeling refreshed and energized!

Reclining Spinal Twist Stretch

How to do it:

  1. Start by lying comfortably on your back.
  2. Bend your knees into your chest and extend your arms out. You should be in a “T” formation, with your palms facing up.
  3. Slowly drop your bent knees to the right and move your head gently to the left.
  4. Stay in this position for five to ten breaths. Concentrate on pressing the backs of your shoulder blades down toward the floor and keep your knees close together.
  5. Move your knees to center and repeat on the other side.

Forward fold Stretch

This is an excellent stretch to let go of the day. You can literally feel built-up tension and stress leave your body.

Forward Fold Stretch

How to do it:

  1. Begin standing upright with your hands on your hips and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Gently bend forward at the hips until the crown of your head is hanging down. It is important to not lock your knees and to only go as far as you feel comfortable.
  3. Bend your elbows and hold on to each elbow with the opposite hand or simply let your arms reach towards the floor.
  4. Allow your head to hang heavy and hold the stretch for a few breaths.
  5. Slowly return to the standing position by strengthening your back one vertebrae at a time.
  6. Repeat as desired.

Upward Stretch

An upward stretch is a simple and effective way to get your blood flowing and to wake up the body. It is best done first thing in the morning, but this stretch can be done throughout the day whenever you need a break.

Upward Stretch

How to do it:

  1. Start by standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lace your fingers together and raise your hands above your head with your palms facing upward.
  3. Hold the stretch here for a count of 10, concentrating on elongating your spine. You may also feel the stretch in your ribcage and arms.
  4. Repeat 3 – 5 times.

Feeling better already? 😉

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