Stress and tension accumulates in the body and can turn into pain if you do nothing about it. You may forget how it feels to be relaxed if you are holding onto tension and stress day in day out.

Do you clench your jaw or hunch your shoulders? These are common areas in the body where we store our stress.

Learning how to release stress and guide your body into a relaxed state takes practice and patience. There is no one practice that works for everyone. We are all different, and finding techniques that resonate with you is the most important part.

Just by practicing gentle movement and breathing, you may notice feelings of restriction or  resistance to flow. This is a sign of stored stress, and letting it go is not always easy because we may have stored emotions around fear and trauma that have accumulated over a long time.

Part of the stress-releasing practice is to get in touch with your emotional blockages and understand how they are related to your physical state. Where you hold your stress depends on how your body reacts to the factors that cause stress in the first place—whether that is tightness, stiff joints, sleeplessness, tension, trauma, fears, worries, or other symptoms.

Self-Care Practices to Release Stress and Tension

Positive Affirmations

Stress often settles when we are thinking too much or fearing a current situation and bringing in the past. A sure way to help yourself through a stressful situation is to lift yourself up with positive affirmations. Write a list of statements that will help you shift your mindset during stressful times. Make a list of short phrases that you can turn to during your day for a boost. Write affirmations that speak to your needs. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • I am full of life.
  • I have unlimited potential.
  • I bring value to my relationships.
  • I make healthy choices.
  • I am focused on what I can do to help.
  • I am doing my best.
  • I am loved and supported.
  • I can overcome challenges.
  • I am patient and kind to myself.
  • This moment right now is precious.
  • I give from the heart.

The beautiful thing about positive affirmations is that they’re intended to encourage an optimistic mindset. Our thoughts are very powerful tools that we can use for good or use against us. Check-in with yourself when you are stressed and correct negative thinking with positive affirmations.

Gentle Movement and Flow

Think about how dancing feels. It is a flow state where you move energy through you. It loosens you up and uplifts your spirit when you dance freely. A beautiful practice to release tension is through movement, especially moving your whole body, face, neck, shoulders, core, waist, hips, and feet. This movement opens you up, changes your breathing pattern, shifts your mood, and boosts circulation.

Your body and spirit are energy, and energy is in motion, it needs to flow. The physical body needs to release energy through motion and emotion. If we don’t express ourselves or engage in movement, that energy gets stuck in our joints, tissues, and organs—and stagnates within the body, affecting our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Through movement, dance, yoga, or flow arts, we can release stress and tension and feel more relaxed.

Keep a Gratitude Journal

Expressing gratitude and focusing on what you are thankful for makes you more compassionate and resilient in tough times. When we are feeling grateful, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for feel-good emotions. These hormones shift our mood, helps us to feel happy, and reduces stress and tension.

The brain is a muscle, and it can be strengthened with gratitude, making us more positive and resilient against stress. People who show gratitude have stronger relationships, higher satisfaction in life, and tend to be more focused on solutions.

Write thank you notes and place them around the house and fill them with statements of gratitude. Notice the good things in people and communicate appreciation to and for others.

Massage Joints and Stress Points

Take some time to sit down with some oil or lotion and massage spots in your body where stress and tension have built up. Start with your temples, cheekbones, and jaw, and work your way down to your shoulders, arms, wrists, and all the way to your feet. As you touch these points on your body, notice what particular areas feel tense. Squeeze for five seconds and release for 10 seconds in areas where you find knots to relieve stress build up. Work over your body with mindful touch, sending loving thoughts to yourself for all the work your body does to sustain you.

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  • Feeling calm
  • Reducing stress
  • Soothing aches
  • Boosting mood
  • Balancing systems in the body (Endocannabinoid system, nervous system, and immune system)
  • Releasing tension
  • Support recovery
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Boost your wellness

CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system to restore balance to your body. The endocannabinoid system communicates with all the other major systems in your body and supports their functions. In this way, CBD benefits your overall wellness and stress response.

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Take a Minute and Breathe Deep 

To combat stress effectively, you need to activate your body’s natural relaxation response. Deep breathing can help calm your nervous system when you are feeling overwhelmed. When you feel pressured and anxious, step away from what you’re doing and breathe deep to recenter yourself. Feel your breath fill your diaphragm, then hold it, and with each release, let go of tension and worry. Try out different breathing techniques to release stress and promote a relaxed mind and body.

Meditation for a Calm Mind and Body

Visual meditation or listening to a guided imagery meditation is a great technique to help you relax. Taking your mind off the source of your stress and redirecting your attention to a guided meditation is helpful when it’s hard to quiet the mind. Listen to a guided meditation before bed during the day when you need to gather your inner strength to get you through a challenging time. Here is a guided 10-minute meditation to boost your sense of calm and support your well being.