Exercise and Relaxation
Exercise is helpful not only for reducing muscular tension, but autonomic tension from the stress response as well. Increased heart rate and blood pressure, short constricted breathing, and a scattered mental mindset are all effects of a stressful attitude. Exercise activities such as swimming, biking, or walking briskly for at least 20 minutes can help release this tension and bring us back to a state of balance. During exercise we initially increase our heart and breath rate as well as muscle tension, but after exercise our muscles relax and our heart and breath rate drop back to normal levels leaving us with a sense of release and calm (similar to progressive muscle relaxation)
When exercising it is a good idea to avoid an aggressive attitude or one of competitive struggle, which only serves to increase mental tension. Remain calm and relaxed in your mind and work within the bounds of your safety/comfort capacity. The goal is to engage your body in vigorous activity that will challenge, energize and enliven without overdoing it to the point of causing damage. Exercise is a healthy way to energize and re-set our system. It also gives us a sense of accomplishment and helps encourage optimism and well-being. And for even more benefit, try exercising with a friend!