9 Ways to Relieve Divorce Tension in Your Face and Body
The human body and all it can do is incredible. During periods of high stress, the muscular system automatically feels tension as a response mechanism. When stress becomes a steady state, the body responds accordingly. Many of the chronic pain syndromes people experience fall under this umbrella. Interestingly, many people who believe their headaches are migraines might actually be due to chronic muscle tension in the head, neck, and shoulder region.
De-stressing sounds easier said than done, but fortunately, there are tools you can use to help relieve pain and tension.
The body's stress response
Stress can harm every system within the body. The impact of such stress is commonly experienced in periods of chronic and ongoing stress.
Think of the muscles of the face. How often are our emotions seen in our facial expressions? Each of these expressions (smiling, frowning, etc.) uses muscles. Other muscles that tend to be overused, causing pain, are the muscles of the jaw. Overuse of these muscles leads to tension that can translate to increased pain in the face, tension headaches, and pain with eating.
You might be surprised to learn how often people clench their jaws while sleeping during periods of high stress.
9 ways to decrease stress and tension
The following interventions have been shown to help relieve stress and tension felt within the body. Only some of these will work for some people.
1. Deep breathing
Deep breathing exercises are easy to learn and can be used anywhere. If you like to incorporate technology into your self-care regimen, there are many apps that can moderate exercises for you. One example is Breathwrk.
There are a variety of deep breathing exercises available. Here is one example:
- Sit up straight
- Place hands on stomach and chest
- Take a deep breath
- Slowly exhale
- Be mindful of the movements of your hands while inhaling and exhaling
2. Healthy support system
Everyone needs a solid support system, whether they’re going through something traumatic or not. However, in times of trauma, crisis, and heightened stress, it’s vital to have people to confide in and trust. Your support system could be family members, friends, or even a support group.
3. Adequate sleep
You know that nasty cycle of feeling overwhelmed and stressed and then lying awake, tossing and turning all night? Thanks to this cycle, 49% of people report not getting enough sleep at night. Experts say this cycle only enhances the body's stress response. Getting adequate sleep is harder for some people than others, but it can work wonders for your well-being.
4. Proper nutrition
Junk food. Fast food. Sweets. Salty snacks. People often make poor dietary choices in times of stress. Unfortunately, this can lead to worsening health concerns. The body’s stress response, combined with a poor diet, leads to increased risks for insulin resistance, diabetes, and excess visceral fat. Focusing on proper nutrition is essential.
The term mindfulness has grown in popularity over recent years. The act of slowing down and restructuring the mind and its thought patterns has been shown to help people become more fully engaged. Mindfulness allows people to focus on the "right now" instead of worrying about the past or future.
Meditation that encompasses mindfulness has proved to diminish anxiety, stress, and other negative thoughts or emotions. There are so many free resources and smartphone applications to help.
The manipulation of the body's muscles, tissues, and ligaments in the form of massage has been around for a long time. Massage therapists receive extensive training in anatomy and the musculoskeletal system, allowing them to claim the term "expert." Most trained professionals can quickly identify specific pain and trigger points within the body to aid in tension release, thereby decreasing pain.
There are different types of massage you should know about. Swedish massage is geared more toward relaxation. Deep tissue massage is self-explanatory; the technique focuses on targeting the tissues and muscles deeply. This type is commonly used by those with sports or other types of injury. Trigger point massage is another type.
Deep tissue massage is typically the most beneficial for tension in the face and body.
Exercise has long been known to release endorphins that can help with mood, but did you know it can also help relieve stress? More importantly, rhythmic movement exercises like swimming, running, and walking tend to reduce anxiety with their repetitive patterns.
Yoga has been around for quite some time. It’s a physical activity that has also been shown to help with relaxation. There are a variety of yoga classes available, so be sure to ask which one would be preferred if your goal is relaxation and mindfulness.
Music has been reported to help boost mood and decrease stress, and it can help you feel better overall. Listening to sappy, sad songs on repeat might enhance the feelings of sadness you may experience. Songs that make you feel empowered, upbeat, and strong might be a better option.
Hello Divorce has a specially curated playlist that can help you in any mood. Give it a try!
Divorce is never easy, and it’s bound to create stress within your mind and body. The human body responds to stress in various ways, one of which is the buildup of tension in the face and body. This tension can create a cascade effect that leads to pain, headaches, and other discomforts.
Everyone is different. It’s critical for you to know how your body is affected by stress and how you can best relieve it. Also note that, though most stress and tension are felt physically, seeking therapy can also benefit your body.
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Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief
Stress effects on the body
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Songs to Listen to When You're Going Through Divorce
Nutrition and Stress: A Two-way Street