7 Healthy Ways To Release Holiday Stress

Many people go through the motions during Christmas. If not the whole holiday season just parts. I see them slumped in line, not a smile to be found, their body stiff, just counting the number of people ahead of them, and time. Gift giving or even receiving is right, wrong, good, bad, or considered a waste. The control of it all, tightens the body, encompasses the soul, and buries the magic. Where is the release or where do we begin? It starts mindfully with a choice, movement in the body, and a change of spirit. Resolve to release the stress of it all, the need for control, the right, or the wrong. Stand tall, smile, talk to your neighbor, give them the acknowledgment just like you want and deserve whether it's one minute or more.

1. Lower back release. Stand facing a wall. Palms flat against the wall, arms stretched, body angled straight, bend one knee, and place it closer to the wall. Bend gentle towards the wall. Close your eyes and see the tension in your back. Envision it as a light. Mindfully move that light down your legs out into the floor. If the light prefers, let it travel through the arms into the wall. It doesn't matter, just that it goes. What is so nice about this release is there is usually a wall available anywhere you go or you can use this release in the shower at home.

2. Breathing exercises cleanse. Lay down, a bed or couch work well, talk through a speech, or just talk aloud. At the same time breathe deeply, watch your stomach rise and fall, the same way a baby's does when lying on their back asleep. This will help you find your authentic voice; it will probably sound different than ever before. Listen to that voice, remember it well, use it often and what the change in people who are listening.

3. Cheek, not facial, squeezing and release can be done sitting in your office chair or while you are driving. Squeeze, release, squeeze, release. Alternatively, play each cheek to the beat of a song. Squeeze first the right, then the left, and then the right again. "Buttock dancing" is a great release for the back and shoulders. It's okay to laugh through this because it then fades into number 4 below.

4. Laughter. Rent some funny movies or create your own laughter. Try this: sit, feet firmly on the ground, bend forward with elbows on your knees. Take a deep breath and let out a big laugh. A hearty one, the kind from the stomach, the kind you try to hide. Repeat until you feel that the body releases the stress. It usually doesn't take but two or three times. If you are a speaker, do this before entering the room.

5. Do something wild. Streak across your room; sway naked in the moonlight, or dance to wild music with your spouse. Let the hair down, let go of control. When was the last time you were not in control, the time you left all inhabitations go, you went with your own personal flow? If you are a writer, write wildly as if no censorship, no rules. Use wild, daring words, don't ask what they mean or spell like they sound. Release the wildness everyday, it keeps the diseases at bay, it's better than an apple a day. If a runner, fling your arms wildly around, as if going wild. Because actually, you am. Make ugly faces. Stand up in front of your computer screen, dance and sway to imaginary music if none is around. Howl at the moon and even share it with friends. Bring some drums and strum.

6. Sounds. Let out a "yippee" or a big "yes" loud or soft, in a car by yourself, or in your cubby hole at your desk when you have completed something or did something well. Let out a "You go, Girl" cry with a powerful arm thrust. Open your mouth wide and verbally say the vowels, "aa, ee, ii, oo, uu." (This is my favorite release before and after a speech, it loosens the throat.) Yawn with sounds and stretch with the yawn. Burp with oops and pride instead of apology and shame. It's only a body movement nothing more. When someone else does it, respond well, with jest rather than a disapproving glare.

7. All choked up. Our throat harbors our unspoken dreams and uncried tears caused from stress, of trying to be in control. Use a pillow to muffle, or find a field where no one can hear, yell and shout, but don't shriek, from the depth of your belly. This sends any blocked energy from the throat away. Your voice, even your body, may feel drained as the toxins held inside get released, especially if you keep it up for 10 or 15 minutes (your goal). Try this a day before a speech to lower your pitch and relax your throat. You will see a new sense of commanding power with a new authentic voice in your writing or in your speaking.

These are seven various ways to let go of stress in your body, open up your writing, improve your presentation quality, or return your self-confidence and personal power. It's easy to forget we need to let go, become wild into order to take back our own control. Control of our health and not take it for granted. You can also use any one of these in the shower. Singing in the shower is a healthy release of stress, in tune or not. Health is the one thing in life money can't buy.

� Copyright 2004, Catherine Franz. All rights reserved.

Catherine Franz, a eight-year Certified Professional Coach, Graduate of Coach University, Mastery University, editor of three ezines, columnist, author of thousands of articles website: http://www.abundancecenter.com blog: http://abundance.blogs.com

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