Dealing with stress is a necessary evil in everyone’s life. Every day, we encounter stressful situations, ranging from minor irritations like traffic jams to more serious worries, such as financial issues and relationship crises. Stress will activate the body’s stress response, flooding it with hormones that cause the heart to pound faster, the muscles to tense and rapid breathing, among others. 

Typically, a person under stress might feel:

  1. Over-excited, e.g. angry, flustered or nervous
  2. Under-excited, e.g. depressed, unsociable or disoriented
  3. Frozen, e.g. paralysed in fear

Countering the stress with some relaxation techniques will help to activate the body’s natural relaxation response and bring both body and mind back to their normal state. 

Relaxing Body and Mind 

Relaxing is not about sleeping in or zoning out in front of the TV. It is about actively focusing on attaining a state of deep calmness via specific relaxation techniques. 

Physical exercises, such as running, cycling, yoga or simply just walking are some examples of relaxation techniques. Besides that, deep breathing, visualisation and meditation can also help. Consequently, the breathing technique, also known as deep breathing exercise, is a simple way to get stress levels back in control. It is easy to learn and can be practiced almost anywhere. 

Basically, you start by breathing deeply from the abdomen, thus getting as much oxygen as possible into the lungs. In doing this, a group of muscles will tense up as you breathe in and relax as you breathe out. This helps to give your muscle groups a workout in a specific and systematic order. Subsequently, the body relaxes and the mind will achieve an equilibrium state; tension and anxiety are then alleviated. 

Relaxation techniques may require a little effort, but practicing them on a daily basis will help improve your physical and mental wellness. As a matter of fact, Harvard Medical School suggests for individuals who are stressed to practice relaxation techniques for at least 20 minutes a day to achieve optimal inner health.  

Moreover, there is another technique for stress relief. Getting a professional massage at a wellness centre can help reduce stress, relieve pain, and ease muscle tension.

To enhance relaxation, a therapist would use aromatic oil or scented lotion with mindfulness or deep breathing techniques.

Exercising yields numerous health benefits, including helping to improve our blood circulation, keeping us in good shape and helping with stress relief. Many of us might therefore think that doing more of it can only be better. Unfortunately, that is not necessarily the case. 

More isn’t always better. Interestingly, Time Magazine shared that while light to moderate runners had a lower risk of death than people who did not exercise, some runners who ran at a faster pace for more than three times a week had a similar risk of dying as non-runners. This shows that more exercise doesn’t necessarily provide more benefits than moderate exercise.

In fact, too many workout sessions or trips to the gym could actually do more harm than good. According to a case study, over-exercising might damage the heart and arteries, or even cause exercise addiction, which is an unhealthy obsession with physical fitness. 

Signs of Over-Exercising 

Exercising can be like your favourite dessert – easy to overindulge in. Here are five common signs that you might be exercising too much. 

1. Delayed recovery time

The body requires time to recover after exercising. Muscular pain or soreness will usually go away after about three days; a longer recovery period should be taken as a sign of over-exercising.

2. Weakened immune system

A moderately active person will have a fairly strong immune system and rarely get sick. As such, if one is getting sick quite often or feeling fatigued a lot, they can be pretty sure that their body needs a break. 

3. Decrease in energy

Mental or physical dizziness is a hallmark sign of overtraining. If a person is not ill, but still feeling extra fatigued, that individual is probably exercising too much.

4. Unexpected weight loss and fat gain 

Over-exercise can alter the hormone regulation within the body. One of the signs is if one experiences an unexpected weight loss but notices an increase in body fat. 

5. Getting emotional 

Changes in mood such as depression, anger, confusion, anxiety, and irritability are common symptoms of physical and/or mental over-exhausted. This can be caused by the stress hormones released due to too much exercise. 

The load of exercise that one should undertake depends on the individual’s body condition like age, health, and choice of exercise. In general, Harvard Medical School suggests that untrained sports enthusiasts have “at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise or 15 minutes of intense exercise a day”. 

Excessive exercise is actually bad for the body; however, the key here is not to give up exercising completely but to exercise in the right amount depending on your individual body’s capability. Over-exercising is a real issue that can result in serious health and performance issues. Hence, keeping a close eye on the signs that you may be over-exercising is important. 

If you are looking to ease shoulder pain or lower back pain, try Meridian massage as the massage technique is ideal for reducing chronic muscle soreness and improve blood flow.