Tips for Managing Stress

This month guest writer Rebecca Rainwater writes about managing stress.This months Newsletter was written for us by Rebecca Rainwater, Occupational Therapist at Rainwater Rehabilitation.

Stress is a state of tension over a prolonged period of time. Stress can cause mental, emotional, and physical duress, such as:

  • Worrying, poor concentration, memory loss, irritability, mood swings, disruption of sleeping and eating habits, depression, anxiety, low immunity, low energy level, physical aches and pains including headache, neck pain, and low back pain.

One thing you can do to relieve stress is take time out to perform some relaxation exercises. We often stay in a state of stress because as humans we think, and are anticipating and planning for future events. Periodically unburdening your mind from worries and concerns for a short time will give your body a chance to reduce tension, reorganize, and be ready for your day.

Relaxation Exercises

Focus on your breath

  • Take a comfortable position sitting in a chair or on the floor, or lying on the floor. Let your body settle. Close your lips and breathe through your nose, placing the tip of your tongue right behind your upper front teeth. Close your eyes. Begin to focus on your breath. Expand your belly as you breathe in, and relax a little more each time that you breathe out.

Visualization Techniques

  • Think of your favorite out-of-doors place to be. Imagine yourself in this place. Imagine what you see, imagine the sounds that you hear. What can you smell? What can you feel? Imagine that the sun is shining down on your head and shoulders, warming them up gently. Feel the sunshine moving along your throat, over your arms, wrists, hands, and each finger… warm and glowing. The sunshine spreads along your chest, your back, into your belly, hips, and thighs, warming and relaxing your body. The sunshine moves to your knees, ankles, feet, and all the way to your toes, warm, glowing, pure energy, till your whole body is relaxed, warm, and content.
  • Imagine that your body is very heavy, and pressing down toward the floor. Turn your concentration on your feet first, letting your toes spiral outward and drop down, feeling your heals pressing into the floor or chair. Let your ankles relax; let your calves sink down. Your knees become soft; your thighs drop down, heavy. Your pelvis becomes heavy, your belly becomes heavy, and your spine relaxes and presses down into the floor. Your shoulders are heavy, sinking. Your arms are heavy, your elbows, your wrists; your hands are open, sinking down. Let your neck drop, your head is heavy; your face is soft and melting, dripping down toward the floor. Your whole body is heavy, relaxed, warm, dropping downward.
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