Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Stress Relief and Relaxation
Stress is a fact of life. Although some stress is
normal and even needed, too much of it can affect your quality of life and your
health. There are simple things you can do to help relieve stress.
When you feel stressed, you
You also can make some changes in your everyday habits to
reduce and relieve stress.
Your body may
respond to stress by tensing up, which can cause pain. If you learn to relax
your muscles, you can reduce muscle tension and anxiety. Progressive muscle
relaxation is an exercise that can help you do this.
progressive muscle relaxation, you tense and then relax related groups of
muscles. You can use a relaxation tape or CD to help you go through all the
muscle groups. Or you can learn the muscle groups and work through them from
Find a quiet place where you won't be bothered. Be sure
you can lie on your back in comfort.
For each muscle group:
Here are the muscle groups:
Hands and arms
Head and neck
You may feel sleepy after doing this exercise. To "wake
up" your body, count backwards from 5 to 1. Then move your fingers, toes,
hands, and feet. Finally, stretch and move your entire body.
sure you are alert before you drive or do other activities.
helps you use your lungs better and gets you in touch with the rhythm of your
breathing. You can practice it in any position, but it's best to lie on your
back, with your knees bent. Practice roll breathing daily for several weeks
until you can do it almost anywhere.
When you are
roll breathing, always
breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. As you breathe
out, make a whooshing sound.
Caution: Some people get
dizzy the first few times they try roll breathing. If you begin to
breathe very fast or become lightheaded, slow your
breathing. Get up slowly.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerPatrice Burgess, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerSteven Locke, MD - Psychiatry
Current as ofNovember 14, 2014
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine & Steven Locke, MD - Psychiatry
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.