Check NOW! Are your shoulders hunched upward? Is your neck stiff? Is your jaw clenched? Is your back tight & rigid? Is your tummy tense?

Then you are probably holding tension in your body – this can be an unconscious process due to poor posture, being too sedentary, focusing or concentrating too hard, feeling anxious or being over stressed.

Unconscious held tension can be detrimental to your health, sap your energy and increase your risk of musculoskeletal pain… especially headaches.

Tension can contribute to pain – I know people with bad arthritis showing on their scans having no neck tension, who are pain free, while others with tension can experience a lot of discomfort.

So stop what you are doing & check your body for tension. Try these 5 quick tips to relax & release your tension:

1 Loosen it Up – learn to relax away the tension – focus on the area and let it go. Sometimes it helps to first tense it a little more, then slowly relax & release the tension. Check and see if there is a stuck thought or feeling associated with the tension & let it go also. Just keep practicing as it can take time. Don’t try too hard – if the tension is 6 out 10, then try to reduce to 4 rather than 0.

2 Breathe it out – take a long exhale “aaaaaaaa” and allow the tension to float away… repeat for a few breaths.

3 Move & Stretch it – shake, move or stretch the tight area a few times a day to loosen the tension & restore muscle health.

4 Massage it away – press the tight area until you feel it soften or gently massage the tense area until it softens. Don’t press too hard as increased pain can lead to more tension. Get help from a professional ie physiotherapist.

5 Soak it away – warmth can relax muscles and soaking in a warm bath or spa may help. In fact any type of heat may help – be careful not to burn yourself.

The key is to take time out & clear your head… as mentioned above, tension can be associated with stuck thoughts & feelings. Consider some long term holistic solutions by dealing better with your stress & anxiety, and include some healthy lifestyle practices.