By S. Wadyka
The actual tension we hold in our bodies during times of stress takes a physical toll. Just think about how your body reacts to a hectic day at work spent hunched over a computer, the phone tucked awkwardly under your chin. Chances are, by the end of the day you've given yourself a stiff neck, a sore back, and a whopping headache. When the muscles in the neck are tense, it not only causes tightness in the upper back and shoulders, but it also restricts the blood flow to the head, according to Tyler Watson, owner of Corporate Touch, a Philadelphia-based company specializing in stress management workshops and on-site massage.
A recent study at the University of Miami's Touch Research Institute that office workers who received twice-weekly neck and shoulder rubs felt calmer and more alert than did their non-massaged co-workers. Since massage is received passively, explains . . . Watson . . . it's really the only means of stress relief that requires no effort on your part. And because stress often manifests itself in stiff muscles, the right touch can, as Watson puts it, literally massage the stress right out. Quick tricks aside, experts agree that the most important technique for keeping your stress in check over the long run is to have the proper perspective. You need to hold on to the big picture, says Watson. Trying to be perfect only increases your stress. Prioritize carefully, and just let go of whatever is at the bottom of the list.