Stress Management For Dummies
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Stretching is one of the ways your body naturally discharges excess bodily tension. You may notice that you automatically feel the need to stretch after waking up in the morning or just before retiring at night. But a good stretch can drain away much of your body’s tension at other times, too.

You may be desk-bound or otherwise required to sit for long periods of time during the day, causing your muscles to tense and tighten. Consider adopting one or more basic stretches and taking a stretch break at various points throughout the day. Cats do, dogs do, why not you?

Here are two tension-relieving stretches that are wonderful ways of draining off a lot of excess tension. They are simple and shouldn’t evoke much comment or ridicule from friends or coworkers.

  • The Twist. This stretch is great for your upper body. Sitting or standing, put both your hands behind the back of your head, locking your fingers together. Move your elbows toward each other until you feel some moderate tension. Now twist your body slightly, first to the right for a few seconds and then slowly to the left. When you finish, let your arms fall to your sides.

  • The Leg-lift. This stretch is good for your lower body. Sitting in your chair, raise both your legs until you feel a comfortable level of tightness in them. Maintaining that tension, flex and point your toes toward your head. Hold that tension for about ten seconds and then let your legs fall to the floor.

    If doing this with both legs together is a wee bit uncomfortable, try it one leg at a time.

Stretch slowly and don’t overdo it. You’re trying to relax your muscles, not punish them.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Allen Elkin, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and the director of The Stress Management & Counseling Center in New York City. Nationally known for his expertise in the field of stress and emotional disorders, he has appeared frequently on Today, Good Morning America, and Good Day New York.

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