Between all your to-dos, to-calls, and to-take-care-ofs, it’s easy to relegate relaxation to your easier-said-than-done list. But managing tension is well worth it. Excessive stress can spike blood pressure, lower your body’s immunity, and lead to sleep problems. Here are moves to target any type of stress―from fleeting to full-blown. Do one for several minutes and reap the health benefits.
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When You’re Feeling Jittery...
Try a Walking Meditation
Get rid of nervous tension by inhaling as you take four steps, then exhaling for four steps. Repeat for at least three minutes (the longer, the better). Work up to six to eight steps per inhale and exhale.
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When You Need a Moment...
Try a Sitting Meditation
To recenter your mind and body, sit on the floor in a comfortable position with a straight back. Look at the second hand of a watch. Inhale for three seconds, then smoothly exhale for three more. Repeat for at least three minutes.
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When You’re Really Tense...
Try a Full-Body Stretch Move 1: The Cat-CowSit straight in a chair and place both feet flat on the floor. Exhale as you round your spine forward into a cow pose (top). Then inhale as you arch your back into a cat pose (bottom). Repeat for five more breaths.
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Move 2: Side to Side
Inhale and extend your arms straight up. Stretch to the right as you exhale. Inhale to come back to the center, then exhale to the left. Repeat for five more breaths.
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Move 3: Twist
With arms bent by your side, exhale and rotate your torso to the right. Inhale back to the center and twist to the left. Repeat for five more breaths.