How tense are you right now? If your shoulders are somewhere up near the ceiling, your teeth are clenched and you feel a dull, grinding headache coming on, you have your answer.
The best way to relieve tension is to down a stiff drink and play silly computer games for hours on end. Wait a minute, that isn't what I meant to say. What I meant to say was this: There are simple, healthy ways to reduce tension that don't involve drinking or computer games (not that those things aren't useful from time to time).
If you're feeling on edge, pick at least one of these options to reduce tension right now:
- Mini Break for Work or Study - This free podcast, offered by Mary and Richard Maddux of Meditation Oasis, is 9 minutes of relaxation that will leave you refreshed and rejuvenated.
- Stretch - Choose at least 5 exercises shown in Best Stretches for Office Workers. Spend at least 30 seconds on each stretch.
- Blast It Away - If you have your music handy, find an energetic song and listen to it at high volume (not too loud, of course). If you can walk or dance around without attracting strange looks, bonus points.
- Take a Mini Vacation - Close your eyes and picture your favorite place on earth - A beach, a mountain, a burbling stream, a casino...whatever. Imagine yourself there, seeing the colors, hearing the sounds, smelling the odors. Be as detailed as possible, letting yourself float away in a daydream for as long as you can.
- Relax - Close your eyes and notice any tension in your face, shoulders and neck. Focus your attention on your eyes, cheeks and jaw and deliberately relax them each time you exhale. Next, focus on your neck, scalp and shoulders, once again releasing the tension there with each breath. Do this for as long as you can.
What about you. Do you have any surefire ways to reduce tension immediately? Leave a comment and tell us about it.