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How to Beat Tension and Improve Your Appearance

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 29 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Tension Stress Breathing Mind Body

If you're feeling stressed at the moment you're certainly not alone. Stress is one of the most common explanations of why we feel run down and tired. Here are our tips on how to relieve stress and break the tension cycle.

Pamper Yourself

Having a bit of "me" time when you're feeling stressed can help your mind and body to relax. A massage is a good example of this, and is frequently employed as a stress relief. Tense muscles are actually one of the most obvious signs of stress, yet we tend to ignore the warning signs. Many people are unconcerned by aches and pains, and chalk them up to being part of the daily grind.

Massage is a very simple way to relieve stress. It releases endorphins, which are the same chemicals that are released when you exercise. As well as removing the tense "knots" (especially in the neck and upper back), it also acts as a natural painkiller.

Learn to Breathe Properly

It might sound ridiculous - surely we all know how to breathe? That's obviously true, but not everyone knows how to breathe properly, as this is a definite difference. When you're stressed, your breaths become shallow and much faster, which can make your heart speed up. This is why many stressed people complain of palpitations. From here, it's a catch-22 situation, as this is likely to make you panic, which heightens your symptoms. Because of this, it's a difficult cycle to break out of.

Learning to breathe properly is the key to this. When you feel your stress levels rise and your breathing change, try to relax your body. This should help with your breathing. Even though breathing is something you do without having to think about it, you can still change it. Breathing from your diaphragm, rather than your chest, is the best way to do this. Most of the time, you breathe from your chest in periods of stress, and this is what makes your breathing shallow.

Training yourself to breathe from the diaphragm will help to control your breathing, which slows down a rapid heartbeat. Breathe in through your nose and push out your stomach. Hold this for a count of five, and then breathe out through your mouth. If you do this for several minutes, you should that your breathing returns to normal.

Look at your Diet

A poor diet can make stress and tension worse. It's not just eating junk food that you need to worry about . Eating food too quickly, or eating foods at the wrong time of the day can also make a big difference. A diet that is low in fat and high in carbohydrates is believed to reduce stress. Experts have suggested that carbohydrates may help you to stay more relaxed.

Eating patterns are also important. If you're currently under stress, there's a good chance that you're eating too much food (almost always of the wrong kind) or crash dieting.

Swap unhealthy junk food for snacks like fruit or crackers, and stock up on vital vitamins and minerals. You might want to take supplements to make sure that you get all the nutrients that you need, as stress destroys them.

These simple tension beaters should go some way towards relieving stress that may be negatively affecting your life. Once you have incorporated them in your life, you should start to see a noticeable difference with your stress levels.

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