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Primitive man had to move about and use his limbs in order to work. Exercise was a natural requirement for survival. Most of his working day was spent outdoors and there was less mental activity that required the suppression of emotion. In the age of computers, technology and automation, modern workers on the other hand are more confined, both physically and mentally.

As modern workers, our jobs often require us to sit still on a daily basis for prolonged periods of time. Frequently, we are confined to close places and cubicles with limited physical movement and emotional expression. In the process, we are forced to inhibit our natural reactions. Our muscles or various muscle systems continually go into a state of preparation to act, but we do not act. Over a period of time, our emotions build up and tensions accumulate in certain muscles and muscle groups, which absorb the suppressed apprehensions and inhibited arousal. As a result, we become tense. This tension tends to accumulate in specific areas of the body and locate at different sites for different people.

For many people the accumulated tensions frequently arise in the shoulders, neck, and back. For others, tension causes the sudden or gradual onset of a headache. H. Selye, the father of stress management, described such stress prone locations of the body as “weak links.” These weak links can serve as stress indicators that alert us to when we are over-stressed. They can be seen as the body’s natural early warning signs of accumulated stress. They should be acknowledged and attended to. They should not be seen as nuisances to be denied, ignored, or smothered. We should learn to tune into these early warning signs and make them work for us. If the stress itself cannot be alleviated, we should at least give attention to the particular areas of the body that are absorbing the tensions.

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