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Stress relief article

Food and drink can play an important role in stress relief. So by using good stress management techniques you can look to incorporate both natural stress relief and by using drugs or remedies.

Caffeine mimics the way the body reacts to anxiety and is best avoided when under pressure. If you can't do without, switch to herbal tea or decaffeinated coffee. Also treat alcohol with caution as it's feel-good effects give the impression of stress relief, but these are short-lived and research indicates that, rather than promote sleep, it may reduce the amount of time spent dreaming - essential if we are to wake feeling refreshed.

Relaxation is one the most successful stress relief techniques available because it helps switch off the body's automatic responses to anxiety. Proper breathing is the key as by taking slow deep breaths, you will become more relaxed. Most of us usually use only one-third of our lung capacity so you have to teach your body to breath in a more efficient way.

The abdomen should move when we inhale - not just the upper part of the chest. It also helps to slow down the rate we breath. A normal rate is 12 to 14 breaths per minute, but when relaxed this drops to 6 to 7 breaths.

Most relaxation exercises are designed for quiet undisturbed periods at home. However, it is also possible to obtain relatively quick release from tension by standing as comfortably as you can and taking a deep breath to the count of five. Breathe out slowly while you imagine all of your muscles relaxing. Repeat this two or three times. Some people picture themselves walking along a beach, or sitting in a beautiful garden to further the relaxation.

Tension produces rigid and painful muscles, so a regular massage can be a further help. Kneel with your arms and head supported on a chair or table. Get a partner or friend to squeeze and stroke the neck and shoulder muscles as well as those either side of the spine, working upwards and outwards.

Other useful techniques include yoga , the Alexander technique which aims to improve posture, and Tai chi, a Chinese relaxation exercise.

Developing a positive attitude can also help. Presume that you will be able to cope, and work out what action you can take to minimise the problem. Sometimes worry is a substitute for action, however, accept that there may be elements beyond your control.



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