Stress and Your Body

By Tony L. Sheppard, Psy.D, CGP, FAGPA

Most people know that we carry stress in our bodies. We’ve all experienced tense shoulders, backs, and necks that are probably related to stress. People of all ages including children and teens are prone to carrying our stress in our bodies. It can be really helpful to do regular “body scans” to identify where we might be carrying this stress. Body Scan? Do I need to go to a lab for that? Nope. When psychologists talk about a body scan, we typically mean mentally scanning our bodies to think about where there might be tension. Once we identify where it is, we can work with it.

Working out physical tension and stress can help us mentally and emotionally. Working out those kinks and tight spots can help to release the tension. Next time you notice tightness in a certain part of your body, take a minute to stretch it out. Breathe. Really breathe! Make noise. Those who practice yoga might recognize it as Yoga Breath. Breathe in and out through your nose “letting the air rush against the back of your throat as you exhale”. I’m quoting my yoga instructor there! Notice how much better you feel. After you de-stress yourself, help your overactive and/or stressed out child practice the same. You’ll be amazed at the difference if you can build this into your daily routine.