April is Stress Awareness Month. Everyone experiences stress from time to time and it can come from work, family, relationships and many other sources. If stress isn’t handled correctly, it can be a real burden on everyday life. If not careful, stress can build up to the point of causing fatigue, insomnia and even illness. The key in handling stress is being able to recognize when it is creeping up, and implement methods to relieve that stress or harness it to your advantage. Try these practices for dealing with stress and begin to create your own system for stress management:
Write It Down. Stress has the ability to keep the mind racing and preoccupied, even to the point where it is difficult to fall asleep. Without time for the body and mind to rest and rejuvenate, it will become increasingly difficult to manage stress. A tried and true method to combat this feeling is to simply write it down. Something as simple as keeping a journal for thoughts and concerns can work wonders against stress. Writing it down can essentially clear the mind and even help to organize and prioritize thoughts. This method can aid in harnessing stress and using that energy to conquer the tasks at hand.
Laugh More. It may sound trivial, but it has been proven that laughter has the ability to relieve stress and bodily tension. Laughter leads to the release of endorphins in the body, triggering positive feelings as they are the body’s natural pain killer. Try one of these strategies for finding humor in every day: read a funny book, record a funny TV show or movie, take a break and watch a funny video, or seek out and chat with a funny friend or co-worker. Making the daily effort to genuinely laugh can make the difference in feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.
Yoga and Mediation. Meditation can help to relieve stress by solely focusing on one thing. A great way to implement meditation is through yoga. Yoga promotes getting in touch with one’s body by focusing on breath and movement. Getting stress out of the head and into the body can provide relief and clear the mind. In addition, the diverse range of yoga poses are designed to relieve physical tension in specific areas of the body as well as contribute to a calm and relaxed feeling throughout the body as a whole. Besides these immediate benefits, dedicating an hour or so a day to focus on meditation, whether it is through yoga or an alternate form, can provide a relief from the stressors of an overbooked schedule or fast paced lifestyle.
Massage Therapy. Massage may be the first thing that comes to mind regarding stress relief, and for good reason. As little as a 30-minute massage session can pay huge dividends for the body and mind. A study conducted by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center showed such sessions significantly reduced the stress hormone cortisol, as well increased white blood cells, which are part of the immune system. Massage therapy affects change internally, activating the body’s natural defenses against harmful stress and promoting relaxation through improved circulation and pain relief. Massage lowers the heart rate, relaxes the muscles, and causes the release the body’s natural “feel good chemicals,” all resulting in an overall feeling of well-being and relief. Massage Envy’s professional massage therapists consult with each individual to create a plan that works best to relieve their stress.
By Mark Love
Mark Love is the co-owner of Massage Envy. For more information on the benefits of massage, visit MassageEnvy.com
For additional information or to schedule an appointment with a massage therapist or esthetician, visit massageenvy.com, call 928-526-ENVY (3689), or visit one of Arizona’s 39 Massage Envy locations. The Flagstaff location is at 1235 S. Plaza Way in the University Plaza Shopping Center, off Milton Road next to Ross and Safeway.