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Got Stress

By Heather Moreno Published 06/14/2006 | Health

I know its a silly question. We all have stress. Its source can be positive or negative and it helps us to meet the challenges we face in life. If you balance stress with relaxation you can avoid a myriad of health problems from tension headaches and skin irritations to heart disease and stomach problems. This balance can also help to lessen any health conditions you already have.

Throughout time many methods of relaxation have been practiced: acupuncture, prayer, hypnosis, massage (my personal favorite!) and meditation to name a few. Exercise is undeniably a very effective method of relaxation.

What? I wouldnt call that Stairmaster workout relaxing! I can hear you saying. But think back and you likely remember feeling refreshed after your workout and yes, even relaxed. It makes sense. Most relaxation techniques focus on breathing. Exercise produces a rhythm of breathing which can divert attention from the stress that disrupted your breathing pattern. Voila relaxation!

Find an activity that you enjoy. Your colleague may insist yoga is best for relaxation but if you find it more stressful than relaxing to hold those poses, forget it. Think of the concept of play or what best suits your personality. For me rollerblading on the beach is the most fun activity I can think of I finish relaxed and with a big smile on my face. If you find running a 10K relaxing or Tai Chi is your thing, great. The more enjoyable the exercise, the more effective. But whatever you do, just do it!