Why we have muscle tension in the body and how to stop it
Have you ever noticed yourself tightening your glutes when your standing or gripping the steering wheel too hard when you’re driving? Do you feel tension in your body when your perform daily activities?
Muscle tension in our body is our bodies’ way of protecting itself. It is our basic instinct to brace ourselves when there’s pain, fear, anxiety, stress, etc. However, when we have constant tension over a period of time, our bodies’ learn to stay in protective mode. Consequently, we learn holding patterns that restrict movement which causes stress on the body and unfortunately, these holding/bracing patterns affect the fascia and muscular structures. These restrictions can lead to pain, stiffness, injury, re-injury, headaches, etc. The tension creates an enormous amount of pressure on the body.
How do we stop tension in the body? We can stop tension by increasing our body awareness.
Listed below are the 3 Steps for releasing muscle tension in the body.
Find a relaxing position, close your eyes and quiet your mind. Begin to visualize your body and locate areas where you are holding/squeezing
Breathe into the area where there is tension. For example, visualize a tube going right to the area and breathing through the tube and into the area of tension.
Feel that area and allow it to soften like butter melting. Become aware of those feelings and embrace the sensations you are experiencing.
When you start tuning into your body, you will began to notice tightness in certain areas of your body.
Becoming aware of where you are holding tension in your body will help you release and let it go.
When should you start doing this?
If you start feeling shortness of breath, tired, posture is uncomfortable, make a note of what’s occurring in your body. Scan, breathe, and soften & release.
You can practice these steps anywhere.
To start practicing, find a position that’s comfortable for you whether thats lying down on the bed, sitting on a couch, etc. Close your eyes and visualize each part of your body from head to toe. Squeeze an area of your body for example, “flexing” your arm without raising it, and notice how it feels. Then, release and let go.
As you continue to practice, you will become more in tune with your body and begin applying this while performing your daily activities.
What can make it difficult for you to tune into your body?
There’s several signs that suggest you may be having difficult tuning into your body.
Hard time trying to relax
Feel disconnected from your body, possibly due to pain or other contributing factors
Not enough time/rushing
If you are experiencing any of these signs, you are not alone. You may benefit from finding a health professional to help you learn how to improve your body awareness and relaxation skills.
A skilled Therapist using John F Barnes Myofascial Release can teach you these body awareness skills as well as other health professionals that can help you learn to relax.
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