Exercising is one of the best stress-relievers around, so this may sound counterintuitive, but Rossman points out that muscles can often feel tense a day or two after hard workouts. Tension causes lactic acid to accumulate, which contributes to stress. Ways to relieve that stress are relaxation techniques like light yoga (which is ancient) and a simpler one developed by psychiatrist Edmund Jacobson in the 1930s: when people suggest to themselves that their muscles relax, they do so reliably, compared with those who suggest to themselves that they, say, walk or chew. His "progressive muscle relaxation" technique is still widely used in complementary medicine, and it's a good idea after a day at the gym.
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