Up next in Stress Management & Relaxation (20 videos)
Need to relax? Let stress management expert Samantha Ibarguen walk you through a variety of effective relaxation techniques in these Howcast videos.
I'm Samantha Ibarguen and I'm an energy healer and a wellness consultant in New York City. You can find out more about me and what I do at Integrated Wellness — www.igwell.com. So there are a couple of quick and easy things we can do when we're feeling stressed out, whether we're at the home or the office. These are fairly simple tips and tricks to have us start to feel better and even, maybe even normal, again. So the first thing you want to do is start to breathe. So often when we're stressed we either completely forget to breathe or we start to breathe shallowly, using the muscles of the upper chest and breathing into the top of the lungs. So the first thing we want to do is start to breathe deeply. You want to inhale for a count of five and exhale for a count of five, and you want to take at least five nice, deep breaths, or more, as many as you need, to start feeling yourself, feeling your body, and to start breathing again. So the way that you do this is you want to play your hand on your lower belly and, as you breathe in, make sure that your diaphragm is dropping down, and as your diaphragm drops down, it will gently push your belly out, which will push your hands away from you. And that's how you know that you're taking a nice, deep breath. As you inhale, you really want to fill your lungs, from the bottom of your lungs all the way to the top, so that you're using the full capacity of your lungs. The second thing that we want to do is shake it out. During the stress response, stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released into the system. One of the things that these stress hormones do is tense and tighten the muscles, getting the body ready to either fight or flee, to get us into safety. Now if these stress hormones aren't flushed from the system, they can cause chronic tightness and chronic tension in the muscles, which can lead to neck and shoulder tightness. It can lead to chronic headaches, a lot of discomfort. So what we want to do is just start to shake it out, just start to use the muscles in a different way. So if you're sitting down, if you're at your desk, if you can just get up and really, literally, just start to shake your body out. Shake your hands out, shake your arms out, you want to shake your legs. If you can, do a little bit of bouncing and let your shoulders go, let the movement of the bouncing start to release your shoulders, start to release all of that holding and all of that crunchiness in your shoulders. This is going to get the blood flowing, this is going to get oxygen flowing and this is having you feeling better very, very quickly. And the third thing we want to do is stretch it out, stretch out our muscles. So, starting with the muscles in the face, you can stretch out your jaw. Again, pretty self-explanatory, you can even massage the sides of your jaw, stretch out your neck. Bring your head forward, just let the weight of your head stretch out the back of your neck, stretch out the sides of your shoulders, bring your ear to your shoulder, stretching out the other side. And stretching out your arms, you can take your pointer finger and your middle finger and point them in towards you. You can feel this when you do it, stretching out your forearm, you can even rotate your wrists. Again, this is all about just using muscles in a different way, getting blood flowing, getting oxygen flowing. Don't forget to breathe while you do this, too. Bringing your arms forward, gently stretching your hands back, stretching out your wrists. And if your want to, you can get up from your chair, get up from wherever your seated, do a gentle forward fold, stretch out your quads, rotate your ankles, and just move around. Just get your body moving in any way that feels good to you.