There are many causes of tension, particularly stress at home or in the workplace. It is important to find effective tension relief, however, because stress can lead to aches and pains in the body, headaches, poor mood, or even high blood pressure and heart disease. To find the best tension relief, it is first necessary to find the source of the tension; once the source is identified, it may be possible to change the situation. In other cases, lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques, and simply being aware of the stress in an active way can all help with tension relief.
Finding the Source of Tension
Locating the source can be difficult, but it is important to consciously analyze when stress occurs and try to get to the bottom of it. For example, if a person always feels stressed when getting ready in the morning, it may be possible to alter the morning routine. If stress occurs from being overwhelmed at work, a person may want to consider ways to improve his or her time management or see if different scheduling could provide some tension relief. Keeping a journal of moments when tension and stress are at their highest can help some people to identify patters and behaviors that are contributing to the problem.
It is possible for stress to become a habit, building slowly until it becomes a constant problem. In such a case, it is first necessary to notice the habit, then consciously take steps to stop the tension in its tracks. Simply recognizing that stress is building can help, but finding ways to step back from it are also important. For example, a person may take a few deep breaths or count to ten before reacting in a stressful situation; this can help to relieve tension, as well as to prevent a situation from escalating. Taking a short walk to simply remove oneself from a tense situation may also provide some relief.
Exercising to Relieve Tension
Lifestyle changes can have a great impact on stress. One of the best sources of tension relief is exercise; working out three to five days a week for approximately 30 minutes a day can relieve stress and promote weight loss and overall health. Even if a person cannot begin a regular exercise program, a brisk walk during a lunch break or after dinner can make a big difference in relieving stress.
Other types of tension relief may combine exercise and relaxation. Yoga, Pilates, and meditation can be a great way to unwind and manage stress. These techniques can also teach practitioners ways to manage their tension when off the mat, in the real world.
Some people find success with techniques such as calming visualization or biofeedback. Many people find that imagining themselves in a peaceful location or thinking about a funny or happy past experience can bring some immediate relief. Biofeedback is a technique that teaches users to be aware of the way their bodies respond to stimuli, and control those responses.
For many people, simply going to a quiet location can help relieve tension. Sitting quietly, a person can concentrate on his or her breathing, keeping it slow, deep, and steady. It can also help to think about which muscles are tense, and actively relax them; rolling the shoulders and bending the neck gently from side to side may help as well.
Simple Ways to Relieve Tension
Some of the best methods of tension relief are also the simplest. Taking a hot bath at the end of the day, listening to relaxing music, watching a funny movie, or reading a book are all ways to relieve temporary tension. Calling a friend on the phone to talk can be excellent tension relief. If tension and stress become overwhelming, a person may want to visit a therapist for help.
Unhealthy Tension Relief
There are ways that some people seek to relieve tension that often cause more harm than good. Using alcohol or drugs for relaxation on a regular basis can turn into an addiction and add even more tension to a person's life. Other people try to relieve stress by eating; this often leads to weight gain and related health problems, like high blood pressure or diabetes. These unhealthy behaviors may seem to relieve tension for a moment, but their impact is temporary and often cause more problems in the long-term.