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How Tension Affects Beauty

Those of us who cannot cope with our tension find it taking a toll on our beauty.

Tension by Nir Arieli

Notice how a president ages in office? A year in the White House with all its concomitant pressures can make a man look five to ten years older. Few of us have the worries of a head of state, but in the stresses of modern life, we all encounter and must learn to cope with tension. The amount varies from person to person, as does the tolerance for it. Those of us who cannot cope with our tension, find it taking a toll on our beauty; the pain on the inside shows on the outside. The resulting wrinkles, grey hair, and pinched-up facial muscles all can make us look old before our time.

Unless you are a pro at detaching your emotions from the events around you which can irritate or irate you, there's a good chance you're suffering symptoms of tension-overload: headaches, digestive disorders, irritability or depression, or over-taut muscles (perhaps even muscular spasms or twitches), all of which make you less than the most beautiful you you can be. Whether the tension that plagues you is nervous, muscular, or sexual tension, when you're tense, you just can't look your best.

Muscular Tension

You need a certain amount of muscular tension, the kind you get in proper exercise and healthy stretching, to insure your muscle tone. What you don't want is the pain of over-exertion or the tight crampy feeling that results from unconsciously contracting your muscles because of nerves. Most excessive muscular tension is due to nervous tension; you're literally physically 'up tight.”

To counteract this common problem, try to stop periodically, especially when you're under pressure, and be aware of your position, the way you are holding your body. Are you tensing your shoulders, clenching your teeth, or scowling your face? If so, loosen up and relax. Close your eyes and imagine a relaxing scene-a tropical sunset, the calm after a storm, dawn over a mountain lake, or anything that strikes your fancy. Place the fingertips of each hand against each other and press firmly for several minutes. (This is also rumored to be a sure cure for insomnia.)

Should you suffer muscular tension despite these preventative measures, there are a lot of other tension-reducing tricks you can try. Let off steam with vigorous physical activities. Sing, run, jog, swim, do calisthenics, yoga, martial arts, or dance. Even darts can diminish tension (try a target of your favorite enemy!). At the end of a hard day, take a long, hot bath or have someone give you a massage. The Japanese have make use a pressure point massage, shiatzu, which is like acupuncture but without the needles. Not only can it drain away your tension, it can cure a host of other ills, including writer's cramp.

Progressive Relaxation

Progressive relaxation is a great technique, even if you aren't feeling particularly stressed. Lay on your bed and first contract and then relax each portion of your body, starting with your toes and moving upward, all the way to your facial and scalp muscles. Finish by picturing that peaceful scenario before dropping off to a deep sleep and sweet dreams.

Inverted yoga postures take pressure off the lower part of your body and relieve the burden of your blood flow working against gravity in your shoulders, neck, and head. They can help relieve tension as well as strengthen your spine, improve your posture, and delay the wrinkling process in your face. Start your mornings with a minute or two in a half- or full-shoulder stand or try a headstand (do this on a pillow against a wall, if you're not a full-fledged yogini). If you feel pressure, tingling, or hear ringing in your ears, come down immediately. Hold a headstand position for only thirty seconds at first and gradually build up to a minute or two. This will really wake you up, and may even help to increase your psychic abilities.

Meditation has been getting a lot of good publicity lately for its success in reducing high blood pressure and relieving stress. The goal is to still your mind by concentrating on your breath, a candle flame, or a repeated word (you can choose any soothing word or phrase as your mantra), or by focusing on a part of your body (your feet, for instance) or on a picture or meditation mandala. Let any thoughts which arise just float over you, note them and let them pass on, but do not be distracted by them. Breathe slowly and regularly through your nostrils. Continue for as little as three minutes or as long as half an hour. Practiced daily, you may reap unlimited unexpected benefits.

Orgasms Relieve Tension

Orgasm should not be overlooked-it's a terrific tension outlet, too. In fact, orgasm-absence can be a source of tension and irritability in itself. If there's no one around to help you out in this department, there's no law against helping yourself. Sexual activities can provide great exercise and do wonders for your muscle tone, circulation and peace of mind at the same time.

Dwelling on all that is bothering you is probably one of your beauty's worst enemies. When you find yourself complaining or surmounted by troubles or anxiety, try to remember things which make you happy. Unless, that is, you want to be a bitch and look like it, too. There's a lot to be said for the power of positive thinking. No matter what the problem is, why should you let life's or someone's (including your own) shortcomings ruin your beauty, health, and sanity?

In simple terms, then, how do you spell relief from tension?

Relax. Any way you choose. Escape from life's irritations. Eliminate rigidity and negativity. Feel tension slip away. When you feel better, you'll look better.

If all of the above fails, go behind closed doors and SCREAM. That definitely relieves tension. Whatever you do, don't go around feeling up tight.

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