Books-citeFind me a person who's never experienced stress between the hours of nine and five, and I'll show you a cupcake without calories. The positive part to this hopeless analogy is that, while the latter may be more than unlikely (unless we're talking about a graphic image or holograph of the sugary dessert), it is, believe it or not, possible to manage your anxiety levels from one week to the next.
A 2012 survey from the American Psychological Association found that 41 percent of Americans feel "tense" or "stressed" throughout the day, a 5-percent increase since last year. Moreover, according to the World Health Organization, this skyrocketing stress costs American businesses - wait for it - an estimated $300 billion dollars a year.
Blood boiling? Relax. Simply scan these five relaxation techniques for your solution, and consider adding one or several, depending on how stressed you are, to your monthly wellness routine. There's no time like the present!
1. Swedish massage. The slow, systematic strokes (they're known as effleurage) common to a Swedish massage are thought to have a sedating effect on the body, explains licensed massage therapist Prisila Jacobs. "I have observed this myself in my practice," she says, describing, "that people who come in to the session visibly upset over some work-related issue or personal matter leave the session speaking slower and appearing more relaxed overall."
2. Acupuncture. Licensed massage therapist Meg Richichi notes that multitasking and a lack of "me" time can make it difficult for any employee to find balance in their lives. "Acupuncture can assist in the unwinding," Meg says. "I feel part of the challenge for many of us is to find that place of ease within ourselves, and acupuncture provides a wonderful way to take us home."
3. Qi gong. Qi gong combines movement, meditation and controlled breathing, improving blood flow and, as with acupuncture, unblocking the flow of qi in the body. The ancient Eastern modality was recently recognized by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and is available through many practitioners of Eastern healing arts.
4. Tai chi. Slow and methodical, the traditional practice of tai chi historically draws on a form of Chinese martial arts, its movements which are known to stretch and strengthen not only the body but the mind as well. Tai chi is said to have a calming effect, lower blood pressure, improve sleep quality and promote overall wellness.
5. Meditate. Meditation requires little more than a quiet, personal space and a bit of spare time, making it one of the best ways to find balance, peace and calm without breaking the bank. If you're not sure where to begin, check out this simple tutorial on how to meditate from Zeel Expert Madeline Michaels.