Oh humans! Our brain is a gem. Did you know that 90-95% of things we do, we do them unconsciously? And therefore the fact that we create body tension it also happens without us being aware of it.
It used to happen to me very often that while lying down on my bed, I suddenly noticed one of my fists was tight. It’s until then that I realized I was holding some tension on my body, and I just had to open my hand and stretch it to release the tension.
Another example is when working on my desk, sometimes I would not notice I’m tense until I feel discomfort in my right shoulder, which is lifted that almost touches my ear, I’m exaggerating a bit, my ears are not that long (yet). It is then that I release the tension and let my shoulder drop down and relax.
Has any of this happened to you? Or you’re not even aware at all?
Signs showing you might have or had body tension. If you,
- Feel discomfort in any part of your body (from the top of your head through the tip of your toes)
- Feel tight in a specific part of your body
- Noticed your body is not at ease
- Feel pain in a specific place
- Do a posture often at your workplace and feel discomfort every time
- Have noticed the discomfort, and ignore it to continue with your life
- Felt the discomfort for a while that has become chronic
The idea is not to be that unconscious that you actually ignore the discomfort until letting it become chronic pain. If you have gotten to this point, please make sure to visit your family doctor.
Our Body is an amazing machinery
If we were smart enough or simply more conscious, we will actually listen to it and we would avoid so much discomfort, pain, injuries and diseases in our lives.
But no, we want to be in control, because how on earth our bodies are going to know better than our brains, right? Well, they do. They are our inner sage. As simple as that.
If there’s one thing you’ll take from this reading, please make it: Listen to my body.
Here are 8 body tensions you might be doing unconsciously.
I have added some of the main emotional reasons why you might be tense AND some release techniques on how to loosen the tension.
It could be caused by anger, fear or disgust.
- Pull up your eyebrows while breathing in and open your eyes thoroughly and relax when breathing out and close your eyes, repeat a few times.
- Place the index and middle finger of both hands, on the frown right on top of the eyebrows, inhale while moving the fingers horizontally and pressing softly toward the middle of the top of your eyebrow, release and exhale. Repeat 10 times. You might want to do 2 sets.
This is a killer for me. Until I feel a lot of discomfort is when I realize I’m clenching my jaw. It can be caused by stress, suppressed anger that prevents the person from expressing herself (words, violence, creativity, etc.), something important that we’re not willing or are afraid to express out.
- Open slowly your mouth wide open while inhaling and close it by exhaling. Repeat several times.
- Open your mouth halfway and move the jaw bone softly to the left and right 3-5 times.
- At night, before going to bed place your tongue towards the palate to avoid grinding your teeth while sleeping (I do this, it might help you too).
It can be caused for stress, fear, anxiety, insecurity. The neck is related to flexibility, our capacity to see differently before life’s situations or being unflexible with our way of thinking. Something we know is there and we don’t want to look at it (circumstance or person), or something we ignore and we’re not able to see, therefore we have to figure it out through an introspective moment.
- Neck rotation, set the chin toward the clavicles, breath in while rotating to the right and back, breath our while going left and forward. Repeat 5 times and change sides.
- Lean your head towards your right shoulder and softly hold your head with your right hand, hold the posture for three deep breaths. You might want to slightly move your head up and down to deepen the stretch. Repeat on the left side.
- Keep your neck straight, breathe in towards the left side, breathe out towards the center; breath in towards the right and breath out towards the center. This is one cycle. Repeat 5 times.
- With your neck straight inhale, exhale while moving your head towards your clavicles, inhale while moving back to the center, exhale while moving to the back, repeat 3 to 5 times.
It might be caused by anger, stress or an unsatisfying life at home or work. We carry more responsibilities in our shoulders that we should. We feel devalued by our couple, a family member or maybe ourselves.
- Inhale and pull up the shoulders towards the ears, hold for 2 seconds, then relax them downwards and continue exhaling slowly. Repeat 3-5 times.
- Shoulders rotation (both at the same time), inhale while going up and forward and exhale when backwards and down. Do five repetitions, then change the rotation.
- Make an eagle yoga pose with your arms, stretch your arms forward, parallel to the floor, cross your arms forming the “x” by the elbows, fold your elbows moving the hands towards the sky and try to hold your hand’s palms together, align elbows to shoulders hight and take 5 deep breaths. Then switch your arms position and repeat the cycle.
- Stand straight, feet open hip-wide, breath in deeply and slowly start bending from the hips, keeping your back straight at all times. Fold as much as you can, relax shoulders, arms, neck and head. To make sure your shoulders are relaxed, keep your back and neck straight, breath in, when breathing out pull them slightly backwards, straighten your bottom and upper backs, you’ll feel your shoulder blades approach.
Upper body tension
It can be caused by grief, sadness or sorrow. I noticed that my upper body is tensed because when I’m lying down my shoulders are far from the floor, or mattress if I’m on the bed.
- When laying down softly lift your upper body, approach your shoulder blades and move your shoulders towards your feet and laid completely down again. Then take 3 deep breathes and exhale through the mouth to relax.
- Standing up, inhale by stretching your arms up, hands wide open, exhale by moving your arms down through your side until your elbows get close to the torso, repeat 5-7 times.
- The shoulder’s rotation recommended previously might help as well as the folding forward exercise.
They are mainly related to anxiety. It could be a way to express how we manage experiences, do we hold them tight and not let them go, or on the contrary we let things slip away. The left hand is related to receiving and the right one to giving.
- Open your hand(s) wide open while breathing in and stretch your fingers until you feel your fingertips, exhale slowly and relax. Repeat 3 times, or as many times as necessary. Wiggle your fingers all around. Shake your hands.
- Hold your forearm with your right hand where the elbow folds, thumb on the top, other fingers at the bottom, breath in, while breathing out press the interior of your forearm with your thumb passing through your wrist, the stretch each finger by pulling them softly with your other hand.
It might be caused by stress, anxiety, lack of exercise, weather.
- Do rotations with your wrists and ankles. Breath in while going to the right, breath out to the left. Make 5 repetitions for each side.
- Also for wrists and ankles, straightening the part of the body parallel to the floor (arm or leg), inhale when moving the hand or feet up, exhale when moving them down. Wiggle fingers and toes.
- Stretch your arms parallel to the floor (in front of you or aside), palms facing up. Inhale and while exhaling move your hands towards your shoulders, repeat 5 times.
- Standing with your feet slightly separated, bend the right knee by moving the foot towards your butt. If unbalanced place your hands softly over a table or chair.
- You can also do the exercises mentioned under tight shoulders.
This might happen when we are imbalanced, we feel fear or worry. The hips store trauma, stress and anxiety. Our hips are the base of the body, therefore if they are not at ease, many other things might not be either. Hips might cause a lack of flexibility, lower back pain, folding might be hard, tripping often.
- Standing with your feet open as wide as your hips, do rotations. Breath in when going towards the right, breath out when towards the left. Repeat 5 times and the change rotation.
- Standing up shake your legs like Elvis Presley, yeah rock on baby! That will release tension too.
- Get into a table position (4 legs), shoulder above your wrists, knees below your hips. Slightly lift one of your knees, keeping it folded and do rotations as wide as possible backwards and forwards (5 times each side), then change to the other leg. Follow your breathing as explain in previous exercises.
- Butterfly pose. Sit down on the floor, legs straight forward and start folding the knees towards the exterior until the bottom of your feet face and touch each other. Press your knees down softly as much as you can and bring your feet as close to your pelvis as possible. Them move the legs ups and down to relax the hips. Respect your body.
I hope this article can help you release some of the tensions you might be keeping in your body unconsciously by using some of the release techniques.
And to help you relax, even more, here is a full-body relaxation audio from tiptoes to the tip of your head that you can listen to it while laying down in a peaceful place.
Enjoy and please leave a comment with your experience after doing the exercises or listening to the audio.