Muscle tension is a common but not normal condition experienced by many adults in today’s fast-paced world. It is caused when muscles contract and do not release, and is often a result of high levels of stress or overuse. If prolonged, muscle tension can lead to pain throughout the body, tightness, and tension headaches.
The good news is that there are myriad of ways to relax the muscles in order to ease muscle tension and reduce pain associated with it, and the best part is that many of the techniques can be practiced right at home. So what are you waiting for? If you are experiencing any type of muscle tension or mental stress, try out one of the following techniques!
- Meditate: Meditation is a proven way to calm the mind and reduce both mental and physical stress. The best part? Practicing for a few minutes a day can show improvement. Incorporating breathing techniques throughout the day or during moments of high stress can also help your heart rate go down and relax.
- Do yoga: Yoga helps you practice mind and body connection, which in turn has mental health benefits that can lead to an increasingly calm state of being. Stretching the body with different poses and using breathing techniques while doing so can also help alleviate tension.
- Keep Moving: Continual movement is important for reducing tension in the body. Leading a sedentary lifestyle can cause muscles to contract, such as sitting at your desk all day without taking constant breaks. Additionally, exercise releases the feel-good chemicals in the brain called endorphins which help you stay happy and release mental and physical tension!
- Foam roll: Foam rolling and stretching is an excellent way to easily reduce muscle tension after a workout or even as a workout itself, and can be done at home.
- Sleep: Getting enough rest is important for the body and mind to feel relaxed and recovered. Skipping sleep can lead to mental and physical exhaustion, stress, and tension.
- Massage Therapy: Getting a massage from a professional is the best way to target knots, tightness, and other problem areas throughout the body. Massage therapy can be expensive, though. There are techniques that can be done at home such as foam rolling or using a lacrosse ball that can also work to target specific areas of tension.
- Acupuncture: A trained acupuncturist can help reduce tension in the body by using a pain-free technique.
- Warm bath: Taking a warm Epsom salt bath, shower, or even hitting the sauna can alleviate stress and tension. Warmth increases circulation and calms the body and the mind. Keep in mind to drink plenty of fluids after hot therapy in order to replenish your body.
- Drink Tea: Warm drinks and tea such as chamomile help relieve muscle spasms and have anti-inflammatory benefits. Try drinking a cup at night for a restful and relaxed sleep.
- Apply heat: Applying a warm compress to a problem area is an immediate way to reduce muscle pain by increasing blood flow and reducing lactic acid buildup.
- Aromatherapy: Our sense of smell can greatly aid in reducing stress and keeping calm. Essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, and lemongrass are all known to help reduce feelings of stress and work as muscle relaxants.
- Eat more antioxidants: Eating a diet high in antioxidants helps to lower levels of inflammation in the body and supports with a healthy response to stress and tension in the muscles.