Neck pain, back pain, headaches and many other discomforts have become a regular part of our lives, especially if you happen to have a high stress career or spend any length of time in front of a computer.

Which pretty much covers all of us, doesn’t it?

This is good news for massage therapists like myself, because it means there will always be plenty of work to keep me busy.

I have to admit though, I hate seeing my clients in pain. I really do. Especially since I know that there are simple habits they can change in their day-to-day lives that will reduce their pain significantly, even if they can’t come to see me one week.

Since I didn’t get into Massage Therapy for the fancy company car, but because I’m a healer by nature, I’m going to suggest a few tweaks you can make throughout your day to reduce stress and the tension that is caused by it.

Top 10 Lifestyle Habits To Reduce Stress & Tension

  1. Carry your purse in your hand, instead of over your shoulder, and switch it back and forth between hands. This will even out the weight you carry and protect you from over-exerting one side of your body.
  2. Try yoga. Not only is exercise in general very good for your overall health, yoga in particular focuses on realigning your body properly and boosting your circulation, among other things.
  3. Smile and laugh more. Besides being contagious, scientists have discovered that there is a direct connection between our facial expressions and our how our brain functions. Stress is held in facial muscles, so smiles and laughs can relieve some of that held tension and help you relax.
  4. Try Body Scan Meditation. This is not the typical “sit cross legged on the floor and try to clear your mind of everything” mediation. With body scan meditation the goal is to focus intensely on your body, actively releasing tension. You could take just 1 minute at a time to sit up straight, plant your feet on the floor, close your eyes and focus on the feeling in your shoulders. Breathe in deeply and visualize the tension. Breathe out and release the tension, relaxing your shoulders completely. Repeat this a few times and you’ll be amazed at the difference you feel. There are some helpful apps out there to guide you through a full Body Scan meditation if you have 5-10 minutes for it, I highly recommend this.
  5. Make sure your bra fits properly. This may sound simple, but a bra that does not fit properly creates a great deal of strain on your shoulders, back and neck. Getting a bra fitting is one of the easiest pain relief tips I can offer!
  6. Walk around more. Maybe have a little solo dance party. The movement is important to break up your day, but a change of scenery and some positive brain stimulation are also great for stress and tension relief.
  7. Practice deep breathing. Stress triggers certain physiological responses in our body that are difficult to control, and don’t have an automatic “off” switch. In order to stop the buildup of stress hormones, we need to actively tell our bodies that we are safe. Deep breathing is one very effective way to accomplish this quickly. From a primal perspective, you wouldn’t be taking deep breaths if you were being chased by a tiger, would you? No, your heart would be racing and you would be taking short shallow breaths as you ran for your life. Your body is still primal in many ways, but you can outsmart it. Turn off the stress with 1 minute of deep breathing.
  8. Wear comfortable glasses or contacts with special protection to reduce eye strain from computer screens, and make sure your prescription is always up to date.
  9. Change what you’re listening to. If you constantly have depressing, sad songs on your playlist or depressing, sad news on your radio and television, you’re going to feel depressed and sad and tense. What we hear influences how we feel, so try some happy, uplifting music or watch an old comedy favourite movie instead.
  10. Hold your phone at eye level instead of looking down at it. Our heads are really quite heavy, even if it doesn’t feel like they are. Our necks were created to hold our heads vertical, not leaning forward. Looking down at your phone all the time puts a great deal of strain on your neck and can cause serious pain and damage.

 

Why You Still Need A Massage

If you apply every single one of those tips to your life starting right now, you will be in less pain every single day.

But you still need a massage.

Massage therapy is a great way to relax tight muscles and relieve stress when you’re in pain, but there are many more, deeper benefits to the practice that are important to remember.

The physical touch has been proven to help boost serotonin and dopamine, also known as your ‘feel-good’ hormones. At the same time, it decreases cortisol in your body, which is what feeds stress.

For the same reason, regular massage will help reduce anxiety levels and help you sleep better.

Even if the physical pain from tension is reduced by your new lifestyle habits, massage is still important for stress management and maintaining a happy, healthy mental state.

Take some stress out of your life right now and book a session with me. If you’d like, I’d be happy to discuss additional tips you can apply to your daily life when we meet! >>Insert link to book an appointment<<