Hello, and welcome to this month’s article! How are you? Chances are that your life includes some stressful days. In a report released in November 2017 by the American Psychological Association, stress levels for most people remain high:
“For nearly half of Americans (45 percent), lying awake at night in the past month was one stress outcome, as opposed to four in 10 (40 percent) who had reported sleeplessness in 2016.
“The survey also revealed a significant increase in the percentage of Americans who had experienced at least one symptom of stress in the past month, from 71 percent in 2016 to 75 percent in 2017. Of the symptoms reported, around one-third of adults reported experiencing feeling nervous or anxious (36 percent), irritability or anger (35 percent), and fatigue (34 percent) due to their stress.”
This month’s feature column contains excerpts from an article written for massage therapists but has some great tips for reducing stress in your life.
Of course, nothing beats regular massage for reducing the physical causes of stress as well as helping you to sleep better. See you soon!
Effective Ways to Ease Your Stress
by Christina DeBusk
While it’s only natural to experience some sort of stress in life, the problem with this particular emotion is that it can negatively affect your health, if it’s allowed to accumulate over time.
Case in point: the American Psychological Association goes on to reveal that, along with higher stress levels, U.S. adults also have poorer levels of health than ever before. In fact, almost one in four label their health as either “fair” or “poor,” a number that is up four percentage points from just three years prior.
Certainly, there’s no way to get rid of stress entirely. However, there are quite a few things you can do to help ease it before it starts to affect your quality of life. ...
Practice Time Management— “Time management is really the key to creating balance in life,” says Amanda Mittan, Massage Therapy Program Director at Carrington College.
If this is an area where you typically struggle, motivational speaker and self-development author Brian Tracy offers several tips to better manage your time. Among them are to take care of small tasks immediately when they arise, prioritizing your tasks so you always handle the most important ones first, and limiting your distractions so you can focus and get things done.
Seek Variety— Another stress-relieving tip offered by Mittan is to change up your routine. Incorporate variety into your day and you likely won’t feel so stressed out. One way to do this is to constantly learn new things.
Spend Time in Nature— “I am really lucky to live in San Diego, where I can enjoy the ocean and our beautiful canyons,” says Kathleen Lisson, CMT. Lisson says walking every day helps her clear her head.
Take Relaxing Breaths— Massage therapist Relinda Reynozo says breathing to pre-selected counts delivers a body-relaxing response. “I inhale to a count of six, hold it for a count of three, and exhale to a count of seven,” says Reynozo. “I do this three times in a row just about every night before bed.”
Not only can relaxation breathing make you feel less stressed, but the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health shares that engaging in relaxation techniques such as this can also have positive effects by reducing your risk of symptoms associated with several physical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and rheumatoid arthritis, just to name a few.
Stay Physically Active— Rachel Beider, LMT, finds that staying physically active helps her reduce stress levels. “I find it’s important to engage in physical activities at least two to three days a week,” says Beider, who finds solace in spin classes and weight training.
The American Council on Exercise shares that exercise reduces stress in four different ways:
- The neurotransmitters and endorphins it releases create a relaxation response, which leaves you in a better mood
- It lowers your anxiety levels
- It increases your feelings of self-worth
- It encourages you to eat healthier, which helps ease your stress as well
Get Regular Massages— Although this should go without saying, the one response that was received most often when asking a number of massage therapists about how to relieve stress was to get regular massages.
Melody Althaus, LMT sums up stress relief in one simple statement: “Do whatever makes you feel happy. Whether it’s doing some form of exercise, meditation, craft or hobby, just make sure you’re taking the time for you daily.”
In other words, make it a point to get rid of your stress before your stress threatens to get rid of you.
Get a massage— Scientific research bears out the stress relief benefits of massages. A study published in 2010 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found just one deep-tissue massage had a measurable impact on hormones with negative impacts on the body—arginine vasopressin, or AVP, and cortisol —while boosting immunity. According to a TIME Magazine column on the study, AVP raises blood pressure and constricts blood vessels. Cortisol is released when people are stressed, and in consistent doses can actually alter brain chemistry, "strengthening connections in the parts of the brain that are associated with fear, arousal and emotional regulation at the cost of other parts of the brain associated with learning and memory," the Minnesota Department of Health reported.
Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice.
It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.
— William Jennings Bryan
The content of this article is not designed
to replace professional medical advice. If you’re ill, consult a physician.
© 2018 Massage Marketing. Used with permission; all rights reserved.