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Avoiding Tension and Stress

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 22 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
Headaches Migraine Positive Stress

The verdict from researchers physicians and medical experts is essentially unanimous: tension and stress can trigger headaches. Avoiding tension is often easier said than done and you may feel that the only way to accomplish this would be to lock yourself away from the world.

In fact, once in a while it may even be helpful to shut all external pressures out and put one hundred percent of your attention on your own health and well-being. Most often though, you will need to find ways to cope with all of the stressful things that are simply an inevitable part of daily life.

Try New Things

If you're able to find one technique or therapy that eliminates all tension or helps you cope with all sources of stress, consider yourself fortunate. For most people, there will be a variety of way to address stress that are effective. Recognised alternative therapies such as yoga, meditation, biofeedback and acupuncture are one route, but be willing to try other things that might help, regardless of how simplistic or unusual they may sound. Look for new hobbies or sports to enjoy-anything that can provide a respite from a stressful day is potentially helpful for promoting tranquility and helping headaches.


Endorphins, your body's 'feel good' chemicals, are released during exercise and can really boost your mood. The effects don't merely last for the duration of the exercise, but will continue throughout the day. Try to find time for exercise, even if it's just ten minutes for a light walk. If you're at the office all day and find you spend most of the time at your desk, try some gentle stretches that you can do while still sitting. You might want to combine this with imagery techniques. This will not only reduce muscle tension and stress but can still provide a break from the monotony of work and gets your mind focused on something more pleasant.

You Are What You Eat

Strong blood sugar fluctuations can affect your energy levels and your moods. Not eating can leave you fatigued and apathetic while eating excessive amounts of sugary foods can give you a burst of energy, followed by an uncomfortable crash period after. Try to consume balanced high fibre meals regularly and avoid going long periods of time without eating.

Talk About It

Some people find that to handle stress, it needs to be discussed. You may wish to confide in a friend, a family member or perhaps even a colleague at work. If you're someone who doesn't fare well holding a disturbance inside, then do try to find someone to talk to. If you don't feel comfortable sharing your worries with a person in your life, you can try talking to a counsellor perhaps, and he or she should provide a safe and nurturing environment for you to talk about your problems. If you need a little bit of time alone, look for ways to get some solitude. Try to find a room in your home that is quiet, where you can be undisturbed while you read a book, meditate or simply have a relaxing bath.

Make Short Term Goals

It can be overwhelming and highly stressful addressing headache or migraine pain and even more complicated when you have other health conditions. The tendency may be to shut yourself off from treatment and try to ignore the pain, hoping it will resolve or disappear on its own. This is unlikely to happen, so try to look at treatment in small steps, or goals. You can think to yourself, 'tomorrow I will have one piece of chocolate, instead of two, because chocolate sometimes triggers my migraines.' If you try to do too much or make changes that you simply can't live with, you are setting yourself up for failure from the start.

Keep Positive People Around You

There are always going to be challenging people around you, but that doesn't mean you can't tip the scales so that you spend more time with those who are positive, encouraging and leave you feeling good about yourself. Those good feelings you experience from the warmth and optimism of others can 'rub' off on you as well, so that dealing with difficult people in work and home life is a little less exhausting and stressful for you.

Some types of stress and tension, like that annoying neighbour, rude boss or deadline at the office, aren't going to disappear but by finding your own personal ways to deal with stress, you'll be stronger and more able to cope with these challenges. This is good news for your goal of being pain-free and bad news for those pesky headaches.

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