How to Relieve Stress by Stretching

Nowadays, it’s hard to get around without encountering modern-day conveniences. And with modernism comes a lifestyle characterized by a very rapid rate of change. With this, most people have been living stressfully by trying to cope with the demands of the fast pace that life is going at.

I guess it would be alright to say that stress is already a given in your daily life. You encounter stress at work, at home, in your relationships and, sometimes, even during your usual leisurely activity. Although some would think that stress is just a mental or emotional state that one has to go through, it is also equally a physical state. Since different people live life differently, it can be expected that the manner by which a person responds to stress will also vary. However, stretching, in all its forms, remains to be the simplest and most effective method that can be employed to relieve stress. Here are some recommended stretching exercises that you can use to untie the knots in your muscles that have formed due to stress.


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    Neck Stretches: Simple Neck Stretch. Sit up straight and keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. Place your right hand under your right thigh or hold the right side of the seat of your chair to secure your position. Then, lift your left arm over your head and gently place your hand on the right side of your head. Slowly bend your head towards the left side and hold this position for about 10-15 counts. Do the same for the other side. Neck Rolls. With your back straight (but in a relaxed state), bend your head forward. Slowly roll it to the right then let it drop back to its original position. Do the same to the left.
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    Shoulder Stretches: Shoulder Shrugs. Begin with a simple gesture of shrugging your shoulders repeatedly to get the blood to start flowing to your shoulders and neck area. Hold your shoulders up for a couple of seconds then slowly roll them back. Shoulder Stretch. Place your inner right wrist on the area just above your left elbow to keep your left hand across your chest. Gently apply pressure for about 15 counts. Do the same for the other side.
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    Yoga: Although yoga involves a lot of stretching and holding certain poses, it also teaches practitioners how to be calm, how to stay focused, how to balance and how to relax oneself. Here are a couple of yoga stretches that help relieve stress: Upward Facing Dog. Lie down with your tummy on the floor. Slowly lift your head and upper torso up until your body weight is resting on your hands and on your toes. To maximize the stretch, draw your head back and lift your chin a bit higher while arching your back just a bit more. Downward Facing Dog. Get down on the floor on your hands and knees. Make sure that your waist is at a 90-degree angle with your thighs. Upon exhaling, slowly lift your knees off the ground until you’ve formed an inverted “V” position with your body. It is recommended to hold this pose for about 1-3 minutes before returning to your original position with an exhale.
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    Back stretches: Child’s Pose. This stretches the lower back. You start by kneeling on the floor with the knees about hip-width apart and sitting on your heels. Then you bring your upper torso forward and down until you assume the worship position. Your hands can either be outstretched in front of you or at your sides. Seated Spine Twist. Sit on a chair with a back rest (no chairs on wheels). Cross your left leg over your right leg then hold the right arm or the right side of the backrest of the chair. Slowly pull your upper torso around, slightly twisting your body at the waist. Hold this position for about 8-10 seconds. Do the same on the other side. Waterfall Stretch. Stand firm with your legs apart, slightly wider than your shoulder width. Start reaching down then keep your arms parallel and hold them together over your head. Pull yourself down using your arms.
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    Leg and feet stretches: These are very simple stretches that you can do anywhere. Lunges. Stand straight with your feet slightly apart. Put one foot forward and slowly bend your knee on this foot, placing your full body weight on this foot while keeping the toes of the other foot connected to the ground. Hold this position for about 15 counts then do the same for the other leg. Heel raise. Stand with your feet slightly apart. Slowly lift yourself up on your toes and stay in this tip-toe position for about 10 counts. Then, slowly bring yourself back down on your feet.


  • If you’re just starting out, don’t force yourself to go all the way. Do what you can at the beginning. After some time, you’ll feel more flexible and you’ll be able to stretch a little further than before
  • When doing stretching exercises, do not lock your knees. Keep them slightly bent so you could maintain your balance.


  • Stay in the moment and be aware of how your body is responding to your stretching. Do not overstretch. If a certain movement is painful, do not force the stretch.
  • Make sure that you have consulted your doctor before doing any complicated stretches. You might have problems with your back that can be aggravated by any form of exercise.

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Categories: Warm Ups Stretching and Flexibility