When you think of physical reactions to stress, you probably think of clenching fists and a hammering heart. However, there’s a surprising area of the body that can carry tightness and tension: your hips. If you want to experience all-over, full-body relief, you’ll need to treat your hips just like other stress pressure points. Here are a few suggestions for getting started.

Release the Tension in Your Jaw 
A study of complex body pain in 2009 revealed something interesting: Patients who relaxed the tension in their temporomandibular joints were also able to enjoy a wider range of motion in their hips. The temporomandibular joints are what connect your skull and your jawbone, and it wasn’t previously believed that they had any impact or control over the hips. If you can lessen the stress that you’re carrying in one area, however, you can mirror its influence on another.

Open Your Hips 
“Hip openers” are special stretches that work the area around your hips and pelvis. Depending on the stretch in question, they might relax your muscles, improve the mobility in your joints or increase the blood flow to your lower body tissue. If nothing else, they’ll teach you to identify the muscle groups around your hips so that you’ll be aware when you start carrying tension there.

Work up a Sweat 
Exercise can help you strengthen your core, and this will have a positive impact on your hips as well. You’ll be able to build muscle and increase the flexibility of your frame in a way that helps your lower body tension. You don’t have to become a weightlifter or anything else drastic. Just sign up for a yoga class or buy an exercise video that focuses on hip, pelvic and core techniques.

Consult a Professional 
There are some bone and joint conditions that can strike the hips, and these will worsen the pain that you feel from stress-related hip tension. You might want to contact a doctor to get tested. You can also schedule an appointment with a chiropractor if you want to tend to hip pain specifically. They might offer everything from massages to spinal manipulation techniques that will carry over to the hips.

As a popular song once put it: Your hips don’t lie. If you start feeling any tell-tale twinges around your hips or pelvic area, you might be carrying stress in that area of your body. Utilize these tips and tricks to bring yourself some relief.