The Ultimate Stress Relief Plan for Women

Relaxation, Restorative Sleep, and Natural Rhythms 

Now, as you are beginning to read this chapter, take a survey of your body. Can you drop your shoulders? If you can, you are holding more tension in your muscles than you should be. Is your brow furrowed in concentration?  clenching your jaw, or grinding your teeth? Are you perched on the edge of your chair? Your posture and the way you hold yourself indicate the degree of tension you are experiencing, but they can also actually elicit a stress response; tense muscles send a message to your brain that stimulates the cerebral cortex, which then arouses the HPA axis, your hor- monal alarm system, and the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for your protection and survival. Whether you are tense because you are stressed or stressed because you are tense, taking a moment to loosen up your body will make a big difference. 

When you are stressed, your body can assume an aggressive or defensive posture. The way you stand—pitched forward or back, chest out or shoulders slumped—often reflects your appraisal of a situation or your view of your place in the world. Just as muscle tension can be a sign of psychological stress, holding tense postures can create stress. Gripping, clenching, and tightening your muscles prepares you to escape or to attack but can cause fatigue and pain, as well. Muscle tension and immobility can stress your joints and reduce your blood flow, contributing to decreased energy and feelings of fatigue and strain. Tension headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and a bad back often de- velop as a result of how you hold yourself. If you have tense muscles, you are also more likely to worry and to stay upset longer. 

Relaxation :

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