We asked the pros who know for their tension tamers. Here in their own words, they share their strategies.
Sole to soul
“The tightness that you feel after sitting in front of a computer for hours can be overwhelming. As a reflexologist, I believe you can manipulate points on the feet to reduce tension. I like to slip off my shoes and give myself a massage, reflexology-style.
“Use your thumb and fingers to gently rotate each toe, applying on-and-off pressure by rocking your thumb from the first joint to its tip. Inching your thumb along, work all surfaces of each toe. Thats called thumb-walking. Do that across the ridge where your toes meet the ball of your foot. When you get to the outside edge of your foot, at the base of your small toe, thumb-walk in a circle. Then stretch your toes, flex and extend your feet, and do a few ankle rotations. Take a moment to enjoy the relief, and youre ready to get back to work.”
– Opal J. Knowles is president of the Reflexology Association of America.
"I'm a recovering idiot, someone who has tried to control others' actions rather than his own reactions and failed miserably—repeatedly. What could be more idiotic than that? After a minor stroke, I realized that instead of changing the world, I could choose to change how everything affected me. Now, when I'm talking to an idiot and feel my face getting hot, I sing a song to myself that I made up just for such occasions, sung to the holiday melody 'Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!' It may sound trivial, but when you're troubled or frustrated, there's nothing trivial about the relief humor can bring. Here's how it goes: "Oh, judging won't make folks like you.
In fact, they might despise you.
Give yourself a chance to grow.
Let it go, let it go, let it go."
– John Hoover, PhD, is a psychologist and humor therapist. His most recent book is How to Live With an Idiot: Clueless Creatures and the People Who Love Them (Career Press).
The Power of everyday objects
“We sometimes forget that everyday things in our lives and our memories can rid us of stress. My book is a collection of comforts from people all over the country. Dena from Grants Pass, Oregon, for example, destresses just by taking a short walk along neighborhood streets lined with fragrant honeysuckle vines. To recreate the essence of Denas ritual, have a scent nearby that triggers tranquil thoughts: a sliver of yummy-smelling soap, a cup of jasmine tea, or your dads old leather wallet. Remember—there are things all around you that can bring comfort when youre overwhelmed.”
– Carol Wiseman, author of A Patchwork of Comforts: Small Pleasures for Peace of Mind (Conari Press).