Awareness Is Key to Eliminate Stress-Induced Tension

AzOPT Physical Therapists

Often, we can interchange the word stressed with tense. Tension can also be considered a natural manifestation of our mental/psychological stress. Some experts believe stress is intended to drive an action in our lives, like a strong cup of coffee on a Monday morning. It gives us a boost of energy to create a change to the stress stimulus.

When we are unable to utilize our stress-induced energy to create a positive change, we are left needing to somehow drain this storage of energy. This leads to a subconscious state of constantly keeping our muscles excessively tight as the body’s best strategy to use this energy potential.

Acknowledging stress and muscle tension as actively occurring in our lives is the first step towards improving our overall wellness in the face of current adversities. After acknowledgment, awareness is the key to having somewhat of a grip on the problem.

So, have you been tense lately? Do you have awareness of your muscle tension? Are you tense now? Let’s perform an activity aimed at exploring your natural ability to perceive and be aware of your body and muscle tension.

Close your eyes and arrive in the present moment; eliminate all other thinking. Focus on peace from everything you’ve experienced yesterday and today, and all that will come later today and tomorrow. Allow yourself a couple minutes of self-awareness in regards to each question:

How are you breathing? Do you feel you are breathing quickly or slowly? Do you feel more motion in your chest, or in your belly? Does it feel comfortable or restricted?

How does your neck feel? Are you facing straight ahead? Are you bent to one side or the other?

Where are your shoulders? Do you feel you have equal space on both sides between your ears and shoulder blades? Do you feel any tension present? Can you relax them both to be equal?

How do your arms feel? Are you placing one or both on the desk or arm rest? Are you pushing your arms into the surface, or gently resting?

How is your trunk positioned? Do you feel your chest is facing upward or downward? Do you feel your trunk is leaning to one side or the other?

Does anything you have come to notice feel off? Do you feel there are areas of your body you are holding tight with muscle tension? Can you focus on the tension, and allow it to relax?

If you feel there is excess strain in any region of your body, it is beneficial to become aware and work towards resolving it, in order to improve the quality and efficiency with which you use your body. If you feel that you noticed an area that has been limiting you from being at your optimal level of well-being, an AzOPT physical therapist is able to help you on your journey to reaching your goal to live better. For more information, please visit