Releasing Physical Stress

Man stressed out. Hands on his face sitting on couch
By Guest Author

Everyone knows that our minds carry our emotional stress, but what about our bodies?

What many of us don’t realize is that when we are faced with a stressful situation, we also have a physical reaction to the situation. Without even knowing it, we tense muscles, our breathing patterns shifts, our blood pressure changes, and all that stress gets trapped in the body.

Stress can cause serious, long-term problems in many parts of your body and system including headaches or migraines, weakened immune system, high blood sugar or blood pressure and a wide array of digestive issues.

We physically tend to hold onto stress in the least noticeable ways. Becoming aware of where you hold stress in your body can help you find the best way to get unstuck and significantly lower stress levels. Here are a few of the most common locations you hold stress in your body:


Feelings of anger can cause clenching of the jaw and muscles around the mouth. Release your jaw by yawning or sighing with an open mouth.


Feeling blue or worried can cause you to knit your brow, scrunch your forehead or squint your eyes for a prolonged period of time. Release your forehead by raising and lowering your eyebrows a few times, while breathing long and deep.


Studies show that poor sitting posture and increased mental workload directly impact the cervical spine. Bring back blood flow to your neck muscles by rolling your head gently from one side to the other, switching directions.


If you work primarily in front of a computer or sit in one position without moving your shoulders for too long, tension can get stuck in the trapezoids, causing you to scrunch your shoulders up and create painful knots and muscle spasms. Focus on your shoulder blades, and with an exhale, release your shoulders down and back, guiding the shoulder blades towards each other and downwards.

For further assistance, Unison’s Counselling & Health Solutions are available for members of the Canadian music community in need. Register with Unison for free, and call 1-855-9UNISON to receive help.