Give it a big ol’ hug and welcome it in. Sounds weird I know but when I’m stressed I get out my imaginary boxing gloves and go to town on it. I fight and fight whatever is causing the stress trying to get it to stop. But it doesn’t and I get no stress relief.
So I add f-bombs and file complaints with whoever will listen. Despite my grievances, stress has the audacity to pile on more sheeeeet. At this point in my battle, my left shoulder is up to my ears and then…I start whining.
Usually, about the time I’ve perfected my whine, my neck gets stiff, and a dull ache starts creeping up into my head. Now that really makes me mad. Take this bam, bam, you f–ing stress!! Now you are really asking for it — I’m going to add kicking to my boxing. And the stress grows.
What the heck?? Fighting my stress makes it worse. Thankfully, clarity does come occasionally. As I was tossing and turning in bed last night in a full-on stress fight, a new thought began to pop in — Embrace the sheeeety stressful situation! Like, give it a full-on hug.
So I did and fell asleep — passed out. Wild!! I slept one full hour more than I usually do and woke without a headache and with a solution to the cause of my stress. Huh??
It was her fault
All this went down because a client sent me a note asking for a shoulder / neck practice. She was experiencing shoulder tension and headaches from — yep…you got it — STRESS! As I agreed to put together a stress releasing practice, I got handed a big bunch of it. Of course!! And I got to watch myself go through this process.
Thank you, Wendy!! I mean it! You opened up some chamber in my heart that let in the hug stress thought. I’m so thankful.
So, I’m a baby at this hug your stress thingy but what the heck. It worked for me once so I’m definitely gonna be trying it again. Perhaps soon I’ll be printing up some Hug Your Stress t-shirts??
Oh, and I’ve got a practice to take your shoulders way out of your ears and your neck out of your head. This week’s Ageless Stress Relief Movement Practice is all about releasing your tension headaches, softening your shoulders, and hugging the stuffing out of stress.
Why hug stress?
Stress can kill you. So, try anything you can to reduce it. Cardiologist Dr. Joel Kahn wrote in his post Why Stress Can Kill You: A Cardiologist Explains:
Stress may translate to dis-ease by altering the sympathetic nervous system (elevated adrenaline), the adrenal axis (elevated cortisol that may transition to decreased cortisol and adrenal fatigue), inflammation, blood vessel malfunction, and increased clotting of the blood.
If stress kills then hugging your stress and managing it with movement and breath can bring you back to life. It’s actually been proven!
Breath practices – Web MD says it is specifically one of the best ways to beat stress.
Yoga movements – Healthline says Yoga is known for its ability to ease stress and promote relaxation.
Get relief NOW!
A quick way to release your tension headache, soften your shoulders and hug your stress.
Sit up straight in a chair. Breathe deeply in and out of your belly. Slow your breath down by inhaling to the count of three and exhaling to the count of six, five times.
As you slow your exhalation down it will calm you. From this place of relaxation, bring your left arm behind you, and walk your palm up to your mid-back. With your palm facing out, sit back into your arm / hand. and press your left shoulder blade into the chair.
Take your right hand onto your left ear and pull your right ear toward your right shoulder. As it falls as far as it can, begin to turn your head slowly like you are saying, “No.” No to fighting the stress. Walk your right hand to the back of your head and turn your head no as you look down and into your right armpit. Breathe slowly, relax and allow your left shoulder and neck to release.
When ready, switch sides and take your right arm behind you and walk your palm up to your mid-back. With your palm facing out, sit back into your arm / hand and press your right shoulder blade into the chair.
Keep breathing & moving
Take your left hand onto your right ear and pull your left ear toward your left shoulder. As it falls as far as it can. Begin to turn your head slowly like you are saying, “No.” No to fighting the stress. Walk your left hand to the back of your head and turn your head no as you look down and into your left armpit. Breathe slowly, relax and allow your right shoulder and neck to release.
Come out and sit with your arms on your knees resting back into your chair. Close your eyes and breathe slowly in and out. Visualize giving your stress a big ol’ hug!