These days many it’s pretty common to put in a long, stressful days and sometimes nights. When it gets to be too much, people start to look for ways to reduce stress. Too much stress is harmful for your emotional, mental and physical health.  Learning to relax can do wonders and restore happiness in your life, as well as reduce your risk for some health problems.  Take the following steps to reduce unwanted tension in your life.

1. Meditate.   Any activity that helps keep your attention calmly in the present moment can be considered meditation.  Try walking, swimming, painting, knitting or using the traditional form of meditation to reduce stress.  All you have to do is focus on your breathing and what you are doing.  Allow any negative thoughts to escape and bring your mind back to the repetition of the activity.  Engaging in meditation for as little as 5 minutes a day can help drop your stress levels.

2. Breathe deeply.  When you’re stressed, you’re probably not breathing properly. The number one way to reduce stress is with your breath.  Take long, deep breaths throughout the day.  Try your best to focus on your breathing even when you are engaging in your responsibilities.  Feeling stress evokes tense, shallow breathing which can cause us to feel even more stressed and tired because our organs aren’t getting the oxygen they need.

3. Rethink your coffee.  If you’re a caffeine lover and cannot figure out the trigger to your stress levels, it may be coffee.  Coffee raises levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, and can also make you dehydrated.  Swap your coffee for water or green tea to see if that does the trick. If you must drink coffee, try supplementing with L-Tyrosine which helps normalize the body’s stress response.

4. Socialize.  Social interaction helps your brain think better.  You can confide in friends or family members about things in life that stress you out.  By socializing, you may be able to come up with solutions to problems that once seemed impossible.  Pets are also a great way to reduce stress—in fact, dogs and cats can help lower blood pressure and decrease stress hormones.

5. Take a time-out.  Find a quiet place to sit or lie down when you need to during the day.  This will keep your mind and temper in check.  Focus on your breathing.  By doing this, you will feel less stressed out. 

6. Listen to music.  Listening and signing along to your favorite songs can improve stress levels.  It will put your mind on something else for a little while.  It is also helpful to listen to classical tunes and aligning your heartbeat with the tempo.  Music can create calming effects in the body, so try it if you feel stressed throughout the day.

7. Think positive.  Doing so will keep your attitude in check and will make it easier for you to finish tasks on time.  Think of the things that make you most happy in life instead of what is stressing you out.

There you have it, simple but effective ways to reduce stress!  Use one or all of the tips and you will feel results in no time.