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A Quick Warm-Up or Relaxing Soak Reduces Stress

Any concentrated expenditure of energy produces more stress by tensing your muscles, speeding your heart rate, and quickening your breathing. However, after you stop expending energy, you find that your muscles relax and your heart rate and breathing slow down to a level that is lower than when you started.

This energy boost can come from walking briskly, running for a short distance, doing jumping jacks, jumping rope, doing sit-ups or push-ups, running up steps — anything that gets your body going.

  • Become a shaker. Shaking off tension is fun. You can do this exercise either sitting or standing. Begin by holding your arms loosely in front of you and shaking your hands at the wrists. Now let your arms and shoulders join in the fun. Continue for a short while and taper off slowly, letting your arms fall comfortably to your sides.

    Now lift one leg and start shaking it. Then shift to the other leg. (If you’re sitting, you can do both legs at the same time.) When you finish, notice the tingling sensations in your body and, more importantly, the feelings of relaxation. Admittedly, it looks a little strange, but it works.

  • Soak up your stress. Think of your bathroom as a mini health spa and your bathtub as a pool of relaxation. Besides, not only do you emerge relaxed and de-stressed, but you’re also clean. Here’s the recipe for that relaxing soak:

    • A spare half hour

    • A tub of hot, soapy water

    • Soothing scents, such as lavender Epsom salts

    • Soft lighting

    • Relaxing music

    • A phone that is turned off or at least silenced

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