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Stress-busting techniques - Part 3

Most forms of yoga also include a meditative element, and focus on “being in the present moment,” which is also a very useful skill to have when you feel stressed and overwhelmed.

Massage

People use massage for all kinds of reasons, like pain relief, injury treatment, stress reduction, and relaxation. Some experts even say that massage can improve mood. And did we mention that it just feels really good? If you have the time and money (it makes a great birthday present!), have a professional massage. There are many different types to choose from — hot stone, water therapy, Thai, deep tissue — but Swedish massage is a great pick for first-timers. (Check out our Resources page for a link to the American Massage Therapy Association for tips and to find a qualified massage therapist.) Taking an hour to pamper yourself with a massage is a great way to Zen out. You can also look around locally to find more affordable massage options. Massage training schools often offer massage on the cheap, or you may be able to get a massage through your insurance provider.

If you don't have the funds or time for professional massage, enlist a parent, sibling, or friend to rub your neck and upper back when you're stressed. Nobody around? Use a hand-held massage tool or rub your shoulders yourself.

Meditation/Deep Breathing

Like massage, meditation can be used to reduce anxiety, pain, stress, insomnia, and chronic illness, and boost overall wellness. Researchers are still learning more about how and why meditation is so good for the body, but taking deep breaths can make you breathe more slowly and help your muscles relax. You don't have to make an hour-long commitment to meditate either. Meditating can be as simple as taking ten slow, deep breaths, or spending a few minutes in a quiet room trying to clear your mind. If you're a meditation newbie, check out a beginner meditation book from the library or look up guided meditations online. See our Resources list at the end of the book for more info.

Stress-busting techniques

THE FIVE-MINUTE CHOCOLATE ASSIGNMENT

It's hard not to feel rushed when you're eating at school. By the time you get your food, find your table, and sit down to eat, your lunch hour is darn near over. And the few breaks you get between class periods are barely enough to make it to and from your locker, let alone enjoy a healthy snack. But it's important to slow down and savor your food when you can; food tastes better when you're paying attention. You'll also eat less because you'll be more likely to notice when you're full (remember, it can take the stomach 15 to 20 minutes to tell the brain it's no longer hungry!).

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