Stretches to Relieve Stress and Tension

Stretching helps to improve blood flow and release tension.

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Stretching helps to improve blood flow and release tension.

Photo by Radu Florin on Unsplash

How to relieve your Stress and Tension

Have you been feeling stressed out lately? Stress and tension or pain in the body are more closely related than you may think. Oftentimes, when someone is feeling stress in their life, even if it is just mental, it can begin to manifest itself in your body. From joint pain to chronic back pain, muscle tension, injuries, and even headaches, stress can take a huge toll on your life.

Stretching exercises may help to relieve some of that. Stretching has many health benefits, including stress relief, which can benefit your mental health. Doing a few simple stretches a day, if that is all you can fit into your busy schedule, can help to improve blood flow, release tension, and help to relieve many ailments caused by stress like heart rate and blood pressure issues. 

Stress Relief Exercises

Forward Fold

Forward Fold stretch demonstration

This exercise is great for any level of flexibility. If you have very tight hamstrings, this is a great exercise to start out with, as it will allow gravity to do the work for you. You will not need any equipment for this stretch. For the best results, repeat this stretch up to three times a day to lengthen your muscles.

Step 1. Begin by standing straight up, with your arms down by your sides.

Step 2. Start tucking your chin to your chest and rolling down towards the floor.

Step 3. Reach your arms to the floor and allow the weight of your head to drop.

Step 4. Stop when you feel a gentle stretch and continue to let gravity pull you down.

Step 5. Hold the stretch until hamstrings release.

Knees to Chest

This stretch is a recovery position that helps to release the muscles along your entire spine. It is an exercise that can be done by anyone and will help to instantly relieve back pain. You can do this stretch on almost any surface, and can be done as many times a day as necessary for relief.

Step 1. Begin by laying on your back with your legs straightened out in front of you.

Step 2. Pull both knees up to a ninety-degree angle, with your shins facing the ceiling.

Step 3. Wrap both arms around your knees and pull them towards your chest.

Step 4. Allow your hip flexors and back to relax in this recovery position. 

Step 5. Hold until the spine has released.

Child’s Pose

This position is a great recovery pose, to relieve the stress and tension placed on your back. This stretch is perfect for any person, as long as you do not have any knee injuries. For this stretch you will just need a mat or towel to stretch on, to protect your knees and head. This stretch can be done at any time of day and is great to help you relax before bed.

Step 1. Begin by sitting on your knees, sitting straight up in the starting position. 

Step 2. Slowly slide your hands forward along the floor, while keeping your hips as close to your feet as possible.

Step 3. Allow your muscles to relax, feeling your hip flexors release and creating space in the lower back. 

Step 4. Remain in this position for the desired length of time.

Stress Relieving Stretches Before Bed (Neck Stretch)

Neck stretch demonstration

This stretch is great for relieving stress and pent up tension from the day. It can be done seated or standing, so you can do it anytime throughout the day when you may be feeling stressed out.

Step 1. Begin by standing straight up with your arms down by your side, looking straight ahead for the starting position.

Step 2. Reach your right hand over your head to your left ear, and gently pull your head towards your right shoulder. 

Step 3. Drop your shoulders and allow the weight of your hand and gravity to stretch the side of your neck.

Step 4. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

Step 5. Repeat the stretch on both sides when done.