Which Comes First, Stress or Muscle Tension? The Answer Will Nullify You.
Stress and muscle tension go hand in hand. They feed eachother. When we are stressed, we get tense, and we get stressed because we’re tense.
We get tense as a result of our fight or flight response. When we get introduced to a threat, whether real or perceived, our bodies do a number of things, including tensing our muscles in preperation for either running and getting away from a threat, or staying and fighting the threat.
Either way, we are stressed about it.
Stress Is Supposed to Go Away, Right?
Once the threat disappears, we are supposed to stop feeling the stress. The problem, though, is that we are faced with many “threats” every day and don’t have the proper tools to deal with or alleviate the symptoms of our response. Additionally, many threats are imagined, and pose no real danger to us. Our brains, however, can’t tell the difference, and will initiate fight or flight.
The resulting stress and muscle tension will persist and build on itself, and lead to many different problems that manifest in many ways.
Stress and muscle tension can cause real problems for our bodies and feelings of well-being. Without going to deeply into why this happens, let’s take a look at how to stop the problems caused by stress and musle tension, and get you to a place where you feel better. After all, that’s why you’re reading this, right?
Ways to Gain Quick Control of Stress and Muscle Tension
1. Take a HOT shower. This will give you immediate relief. The hot water will help relax your muscles and, as a result or feeling a little better, you’ll find that some of your stress is relieved as well. I find that stretching a bit under the hot water helps to loosen stiff muscles as well. You’ll feel stress and muscle tension melting away.
2. Get a massage. a massage stick, or a massage chair. These help tremendously. I’ve gone through a number of chairs, electro-massagers, and real massages, and I can say that each has their place.
3. Get some exercise. This does wonders for stress and will help you burn out your stress and muscle tension.
4. Get some relaxation drinks. There are plenty of these now on the market, and they work. Be careful of the melatonin content though, and please, please don’t drive after drinking one of these. I talk about this a few pages from here.
5. Drink Chamomile Tea. This is a good natural relaxing tea.
6. Sleep. I can’t think of a better solution for stress and muscle tension than sleep. You need to give your body time to heal and rejuvinate. Many of us get far too little sleep.
Longer Term Solutions for Dealing with Stress and Muscle Tension
1. Learn to meditate. There are plenty of resources on this site discussing this in the articles section off the main menu above. Meditation will help you gain long term control over your emotions, and this will directly affect stress and muscle tension.
2. Learn mindfulness. Mindfulness will help you understand where your stress is coming from. We suffer needlessly based on our perceptions, which often lead directly to stress and muscle tension. Therefore, if you understand where it comes from, you can learn to stop it. That’s the point of this site, and if you read this through using the first item on the navigation menu, you’ll have a pretty solid head start and foundation.
3. Learn and practice Hatha Yoga. The physical yoga poses can do wonders for stress and muscle tension. This is more advanced, but man, it works for so many people once they learn to use it.
4. Get the book “The Tools”. Do the exercises covered inside. They work for me, and they may work for you as well. You’ll learn to cope with your emotions and baggage, and this goes a long way toward reducing stress and muscle tension.
5. Start stretching more. Loosen us your ligaments and hit those knots. This will get you more flexible and less apt to tighten up simply by the fact that you physically address the muscle tension often enough to stop it from lasting and getting worse. Isochronic stretching seems to work well.
These are a few great ways to get a handle on stress and muscle tension. Use them and see a difference.
Click here for the next section on Progressive Muscle Relaxation. This is really powerful.