We receive signals from the top of our heads to the bottom of our feet. They come in the form of tight muscles or nerve ends, rushing adrenaline, increased heart rate, and quickened breathing. By the way, it is estimated that 17% of Canadians grind their teeth; that is tightened jaw muscles.
Six Common Body Signals
There are over 100 body distress signals. Here is a list of six common body alerts. They tell you, “Pay attention! Start eating, sleeping, exercising, moving and/or relaxing in a health producing way!”
- tension headaches
- teeth grinding
- eye twitching
When the question, “What do I do with the stress in my body?” arises many people take time off from work, make appointments for a massage (still a good idea), and hang on until a holiday (not a good idea). Not long ago, stress researchers made a significant discovery.
You can reduce your distress and actual deterioration by attending to your body on a regular and daily basis, sometimes as often as every hour on a particularly challenging day.
After locating tension in your body, systematically Let Go. Checking in regularly throughout the day and releasing the body tension provides relief. The Canadian Institute of Stress found
when people took a short amount of time each day to be good to themselves, [they] reduced their stress levels by almost half.”
I call this practice 30 Second Quickies. They take 30 seconds or less to do. Check from your head to your toes where you are holding tension. Then let go.
Focus in on your body sensations. Slow down. Be in the moment. Watch your breath. Check off the 17 items below that you do or will do intermittently throughout your day:
Practice 30 Second Quickies
- Laugh or cry
- Slowly eat a grape
- Do a neck and shoulder roll
- Shake your right hand, then your left hand
- Stretch up, down, left and right
- Drink a glass of water
- Watch one breath go in and out
- Tighten your teeth and then relax your jaw
- Massage your scalp
- Squeeze your face in to a prune shape
- Stick your tongue way out
- Kick off your shoes
- Yell (especially into a pillow or in your car
- Get or give a hug
- If sitting, stand up.
Support for Number 17
Here is help with number 17. I recently became aware of this reasonably priced Canadian product. It will help you, particularly if you are confined to a small workplace space hunched at a desk. The ability to stand while working will help you better look after your body and continue to be productive. And no, I am not receiving payment to endorse it. I just know the detrimental effects of sitting too long. I share it as a sit-stand reminder, tool and option. Below are links to the AnthroDesk.
- Website Link: AnthroDesk: Standing Desk in Canada
- Product Link: AnthroDesk: Sliding Standing Desk Converter (Black)
At minimum spend a bit more time each day focusing on body awareness and building in some movement. It will help you better manage your stress levels.