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Relaxation Tips for Stress Management

Updated on February 5, 2014


We live in a fast-paced and high-intensity world, and its easy to let it get the best of you. Pressures at home or work plus the constant stimulation of TV, internet and advertisements can put an unhealthy amount of stress on you. Stress can manifest itself in several ways, including aches and pains, concentration and memory problems, depression, and agitation. Over time, these symptoms lead to a severely decreased quality of life. To combat stress and its physical symptoms, there are a number of suggested techniques that will help you relax, including yoga, aromatherapy, and Diaphragmatic breathing.


Yoga originated in ancient India as a vehicle to elevate one to a state of permanent peace. Practitioners try to reach this state through various physical, mental, and spiritual exercises like stretching and meditation. Regular yoga practitioners have reported decreases in blood pressure, cholesterol, anxiety, and body pain all while increasing core strength,posture and flexibility. Yoga is perfect for people looking to get back into a fitness regimen due to its low impact nature. Its no wonder people have been preaching the benefits of yoga for centuries.


Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses a plants essential oils to alter a persons mind, including mood and cognitive function. The theory behind aromatherapy is that certain oils have a relaxing and healing effect by stimulating the brains limbic system. For example, Lemon oil and Lavender oil is regarded as having anti-stress/anti-depressant qualities. Aromatherapy can be applied topically (i.e. massage oils, lotions) or by aerial diffusion (i.e. vaporizers, candles). The most common use of aromatherapy is through candles, especially all natural soy candles.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

A common symptom of stress and anxiety is shallow breathing, which is drawing air into your lungs through the chest. Breathing in this way brings only minimal amounts of air into your lungs and can lead to an unhealthy amount of carbon dioxide in your body. Instead of using your chest to draw airs, doctors suggest drawing in air by contracting the diaphragm. In turn, you get a deeper and more complete inhalation/exhalation cycle . Adults who practice deep breathing exercises report decreased blood pressure, headaches, and asthmatic symptoms.

Healthy Diet

Maintaining a healthy diet can be a crucial factor in lowering our stress levels. For example, complex carbohydrates (i.e, whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals) prompt the brain to produce more serotonin and stabilizing blood sugar levels. Foods rich in Vitamin C, like oranges and other citrus fruits, can help lower blood pressure and curb elevating stress hormone levels. Healthy fats like nuts and seeds protect against the effects of stress by decreasing inflammation, lowering cholesterol and chances of developing diabetes.

Positive Thinking

Its not grounded in scientific fact, a positive outlook on life can have a profound impact on your mental health. The first step in doing this is eliminating negative self talk. self talk is the stream of thoughts that we hear in our head but choose not to vocalize. Sometimes its negative and sometimes its positive in tone. Keeping a positive attitude improves the way we deal with adverse situations, lowering stress and the issues that come with it.

Stress Management with Dr. Steven D. Hickman, Psy.D

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      4 years ago

      My favorite stress management technique involves a medicinal herb that is legal in a few states.


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