You Can Beat Stress

Pain Control Through Relaxation Technique

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By: Raymond Lee

When faced with stress, the body responds by releasing epinephrine and other hormones that cause the heart and the breathing rates to increase and the muscles to tense. The physical changes referred to as the fight-or-flight response. Usually, the body returns to normal after a stressful event has passed, but if you are in a prolonged state of stressful event has passed, but if you are in a prolonged state of stress because of chronic pain or other problems, you may benefit from techniques to combat stress can decrease muscle tension and pain as well as reduce fatigue, anxiety, and sleep problems. The techniques require practice and time to perfect, however, and the benefits may not be immediately apparent. At first, you may need to set aside time for practice sessions that last 15 to 30 minutes. Once you learn the skills, you can use them when you have a few free moments to relax throughout your day.The first basic procedure is deep breathing, also called diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing. The goal of this method is to fill your lungs completely, starting from the bottom, rather than breathing shallowly as most people do. Deep breathing is especially useful when you are experiencing greater pain or stress than usual or when you know you are about to confront a stressful situation.To become aware of how you are breathing now, lie on your back or sit in a chair and place one hand on your chest and then the other hand on your abdomen over your navel. Take a breath and pay attention to which hand moves more. If the hand on your chest moves more than the one on your stomach, you are breathing shallowly. To try deep breathing, inhale through your nose, making your abdomen expand first and more than your chest. Slowly exhale through slightly pursed lips. Practice breathing so that the hand on your abdomen is the one doing most of the moving. Each time you exhale, tell yourself to focus on the tension that is leaving your body and the warm feelings of relaxation that remain.Your breathing should feel natural and comfortable. As you continue, you should become more relaxed, and you may notice that your rate of breathing naturally slows.You can make a noticeable difference in your level of relaxation by practicing deep breathing 1 minute at a time, several times each day. Then use deep breathing when you first notice muscle tension, anxiety, or frustration starting to build. You can use the technique when stuck in heavy traffic, while participating in a stressful family conversation, or when preparing for a job interview. You can also try it in combination with other relaxation methods.

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About the Contributor

Raymond Lee is one of the foremost experts in the health and fitness industry and is the Founder of Bodyfixes Group specializing in body health, muscle development and dieting. He is currently the author of the latest edition of "Neck Exercises and Workouts." Visit http://www.bodyfixes.com for more information.

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