You don’t need a chill pill

Every time someone new visits Alvino Massage, you fill out an intake form. This arduous task asks about what you do, your aches and pains and various physical activities you undertake. My favorite line on this form is “What do you do to relieve stress?”

The parade of answers varies as much as the people who visit. Most people do some sort of physical activity to relax, be it running, working out, or aikido. Others focus their energies on creative outlets like playing music or painting. Still others just like to watch television or play video games.

And a good chunk of people just enjoy a nice glass of red wine.

Of course, massage is a popular answer.

Are you looking to relieve stress on your own? My teacher was a proponent of breathing. He would remind us to stop “shallow chest breathing” and get in the habit of deep belly breaths. This helps get your body out of the sympathetic nervous system, also known as “fight-or-flight”.

Other helpful activities include laughter, hydration and simply sitting back and doing nothing.

Personally, I take a page from the silly poster my dad used to have up in the house. The poster was of a monkey and had the Satchel Paige quote, “Sometimes, I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.” This mental break gives me the moments I need to organize my thoughts, my life, and to dream big.

Still need other ideas? Dance. Hot tub. Cook. Spend time with friends and family. Play chess. Enjoy nature. Walk a dog. Meditate. Take a nap. Or just take a deep breath.

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