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Living Right: Keeping Stress in Check

Living Right

Keeping Stress in Check

Managing stress, especially during the busy holiday season, can be key to maintaining your overall health.

According to the 2010 AMTA Consumer Survey, 40 percent of Americans get massage to relieve stress, and 86 percent agree that massage can be beneficial for health and wellness. So, the importance of taking time out to get a massage every month cannot be underestimated.

During the in-between time, however, here are a few tips to help you manage stress so all the good work you and your massage therapist achieve doesn’t get completely undone:

Visualize upcoming events. For most everyone, stress is inevitable. You’re going to encounter events that induce a stressful reaction. Sometimes, however, when you know an event is causing you stress, say a job interview for example, visualizing the meeting helps relieve anxiety. Take time to mentally rehearse the interview so you familiarize yourself with anticipated questions and how you might answer. Doing so will not only relieve stress, but may also give your self confidence a boost.

Positive thinking. You’ve heard this before, but there’s something to the power of positive thinking. When faced with a difficult situation, spend some time putting what’s happening in perspective. Ask yourself: What does this event mean in the grand scheme of things? Will it matter one, five, 10 years from now?

Deep breathing, clear mind. In many cases, taking deep breaths will be your body’s natural reaction to stress. Take advantage of this instinct by repeatedly inhaling slowly through your nose, holding the breath for a minute, and exhaling through your mouth. During this time, you can also try to clear your head of any stressful thoughts. Focus your mind on a peaceful image or favorite memory while at the same time taking deep, cleansing breaths.

Stretch and exercise. Stress sometimes makes you feel paralyzed, or tired, like you’re dragging the weight of the world around. Getting out and moving your body, however, is an enormous help when dealing with stress. Take 10 minutes, if that’s all you can spare, to getoutside and go for a walk. If you absolutely can’t get away, do some basic stretches, or stand up and get a glass of water.

Source: This article was from excerpted from mtj® (Massage Therapy Journal®) Winter 2010. Subscribe to read the entire article.

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