Ever notice your neck and shoulders hurt after a stressful day? You're probably holding a lot of tension in those muscles. Here are some tips for de-stressing your body after a rough day, from family and lifestyle correspondent Ylonda Caviness.
LISA: I'm Lisa Birnbach for howdini. Stress can literally be a killer and at the very least it makes us feel lousy. But once you're aware that you're feeling stressed out, there are things that you can do wherever you are to de-stress. To talk about that is journalist and lifestyle reporter Ylonda Caviness who writes about family issues for magazines. Ylonda thanks for being here. What do you do with normal everyday stress that doesn't go away?
YLONDA: The first thing to do is recognize, whew, I'm overwhelmed here. It can be in the line at the grocery store. It can be at your desk. It can be while driving your car. The first thing to do is recognize what it is you're suffering from. It's not usually everyone around you; it's you who's overwhelmed and overtaxed. And once you recognize that you can do a few little exercises to calm yourself down and reduce your stress level really well.
LISA: Okay for instance?
YLONDA: Say you're in your car and the traffic is jammed and you've got to get wherever you're going and you're go, go, go! You're honking your horn--you know the traffic is not going to move because you say it's going to move. The next time you think you should press on the gas and you'll beat that light, stop. Stop, let the light catch you and stop. Breathe. In deeply and then out really slowly. And as you do that you can tell yourself: the tension is flowing out of my body. And you keep saying it, you keep saying it. It's remarkable how that in itself can bring you down to an even keel.
LISA: It is remarkable how very typical acts you don't think about during the day, like being late to pick up a child by two minutes--
LISA: At a party or at school. And then coming into some traffic situation could really accelerate what's going on in your body.
YLONDA: And it's terrible because when you're stressed like that, it takes just one small vent. It could be anything, like you said you're rushing to pick up your child and for whatever reason the elevator is not working--
YLONDA: One thing can just send you over the edge. Then you know you're cranky with your child. You're cranky with the people with you and you know you have to remember, just bring yourself center. Sometimes you can just do that. Maybe even in your rush, shrug your shoulders up. Hold them up for about four seconds. We don't realize how much tension we hold right up in here. I really feel it. My neck even cracks sometimes and I realize wow, you're really stressed out. Bring your shoulders up really high, as high as you can and then let them down just like that. You know you use these tools, I do it to myself all the time. You have to just talk to yourself. Sometimes if you are able to, if you are in your car or even if you're at home and you're stressed out, put some music on. Some people say the soothing music can help and that does help over time, but what I think really helps is to just lighten up. And then laughter is the best medicine of all.
LISA: Well I think if you can laugh at yourself, you can sort of shake the stress out--
YLONDA: You're halfway there if you can laugh at the situation. And recognize that everyone's feeling that same way. It's not just you. I think that in itself is a helpful thing to remember. You're not the only one who should have left ten minutes earlier. You're not the only one. It's all going to work out.
LISA: Thank you Ylonda. Now I have to go! I'm Lisa Birnbach for howdini.
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