SHAKE YOUR MUSCLES LOOSE
A Caring Today Caregiver Stressbusting Idea
When you're stressed, your body responds as if it's in danger. Your muscles tense as part of an instinctive fight-or-flight response, expecting to be called to action, and your body stays on red alert until the "threat" has passed. But when stress is unrelenting—you have a never-ending list of concerns and pressures—your muscles remain tight, leading to aches and pains.
To quickly loosen tense muscles, shake your arms and legs for a few minutes, suggests James S. Gordon, MD, director of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine and a professor of psychiatry at the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, DC. "The physical movement immediately releases stress," he says.
Another option: Stretch to ease the strain. A five-minute stretching break every half hour can prevent stress from building up and becoming harder to deal with, says Dr. Gordon. For some simple stretches, log on to www.ahealthyme.com/topic/stretchguide for tips from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.