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9 Simple Stretching Exercises for Stress Relief

How to stretch your way to stress relief.

The best stretches for stress relief

There are many different ways to relieve stress—from lavender to these stress relief toys, and more. Another great way to relieve stress is through stretching, according to the American Council on Exercise—and it’s free. For instant relief that doesn’t require anything but moving your body, give these stretches for stress a try.

right ear to neck stretchCourtesy Mackenzie Williams

Right ear to shoulder neck stretch part one

How to do it: Tilt your head, bringing your right ear to your right shoulder until you feel a stretch. Using your left hand, apply slight pressure. You will feel the stretch along the left side of your neck.

*All of these stretches can be performed seated at your desk, but you must maintain a proper, ergonomic (or aligned) form. This means your neck and spine should be in a neutral position, shoulders and torso relaxed, knees bent at 90 degrees with both feet flat on the floor. We recommend doing these stretches at least three to four times per week, repeating the cycle twice each session. Hold all stretches for 15 to 30 seconds.

left ear to neck stretchCourtesy Mackenzie Williams

Ear to shoulder neck stretch part two

How to do it: Tilt your head, bringing your left ear to your left shoulder until you feel a stretch. Using your right hand, apply slight pressure. You will feel the stretch along the right side of your neck.

rotation right stretchCourtesy Mackenzie Williams

Rotation right stretch

How to do it: With your spine in a neutral, relaxed position, rotate your head to the right, gazing over your right shoulder.

Courtesy Mackenzie Williams

Rotation left stretch

How to do it: With your spine in a neutral, relaxed position, rotate your head to the left, gazing over your left shoulder.

right shoulder stretchCourtesy Mackenzie Williams

Right shoulder stretch

How to do it: Keep your shoulders relaxed and cross your right arm over your chest. Cradle it with your left hand and apply slight pressure.

left shoulder stretchCourtesy Mackenzie Williams

Left shoulder stretch

How to do it: Keep your shoulders relaxed and cross your left arm over your chest. Cradle it with your right hand and apply slight pressure.

upper back stretchCourtesy Mackenzie Williams

Upper back stretch

How to do it: Cross your arms in front of you and grab chair arms (if you can’t reach, hold onto the bottom of the seat). While grasping, lean back, keeping your spine in alignment, until you feel a slight stretch.

lower back stretchCourtesy Mackenzie Williams

Lower back stretch

How to do it: While keeping your spine in alignment, bend from your hips and reach toward the floor. Aim to touch your toes, but if you can’t reach, rest your hands on ankles or shins.

finger stretchesCourtesy Mackenzie Williams

Finger stretches

How to do it: Hold your right hand out and, using the index and middle fingers of your left hand, stretch between each finger as shown. Repeat with your left hand. And if you’re trying to relieve stress before bed, try these yoga-inspired stretches to get a good night’s sleep.

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