Stress is bad for us in so many ways. It adversely affects health from increasing blood pressure to causing digestive upset to interfering with sleep to depleting the immune system. It also steals our joy as we can lose sight of what’s important. Time that could have been enjoyed with loved ones can be overtaken by stress.

As bad as stress is for us, we often let it control our lives instead of managing stress properly.

Here are 5 things to help manage stress, so you can be a healthier, happier you.

  1. Just breathe. Yes, breathing again. Controlled deep breathing is a simple and easy way to help manage stress along with other health benefits of calming the nervous system, alleviating anxiety, and decreasing pain. Practice deep breathing for about 5 minutes a day. Don’t worry about timing it. When you’re lying in bed at night before going to sleep, inhale, hold for a moment, exhale, hold for a moment, and repeat. In times of stress, one can get in the habit of pausing then start deep breathing.
  2. Exercise. The physical of exertion of exercise to the point of lightly sweating is a great way to vent the frustrations of stress. Your body isn’t full of pent-up energy. While exercising, you can let your mind wander and relax into your thoughts. Sometimes physical activity helps the mind work out problems. The exercise can be as simple as walking, yoga, or swimming. It doesn’t have to be strenuous. Getting into a regular exercise routine 3-5 days a week can help with stress along with the other health benefits that come with exercise. When stressed, it can be helpful to just go for a walk and clear one’s mind.
  3. Vent frustrations in healthy ways. Instead of screaming at loved ones or getting worked up over the stressors in one’s life find healthy ways to vent. It could a matter of talking with a friend, writing about the stressors on a piece of paper, or screaming into a pillow. When talking, you don’t always need a solution. Sometimes it helps to have someone’s ear to just listen. Writing can help in the form of journaling. Write out what’s causing you stress, why, and how you can resolve that stress. Getting it down on pee are paper can help clear the mind then sometimes results in a resolution. There are so many healthy ways to vent stress. Sometimes we can be so stressed that we want to scream, feel like crying, or can’t help but laugh. Find a private, safe place then let it out. We have those feelings for a reason and need that emotional release.
  4. Look at the positive in the given situation. Focusing on the positive can change your outlook. It could be the aspects or outcomes from the stressors. Maybe you learned something. Maybe your schedule cleared up, so you got to complete other chores that you put off. It can be difficult to find the positive in some tragic situations. Do your best. Savor the good moments for what they provide. It even helps to reflect on the positive things from each day in a gratitude journal. When you get in the habit of being positive, you gain a greater perspective on the stressors adversely affecting your life and can evaluate if it’s worth your time and energy. You then learn to appreciate the positive aspects of life more.
  5. Get acupuncture treatments. The most common side effect that people experience from acupuncture is how relaxed they feel. While acupuncture treats a variety of health conditions, it is extremely relaxing. Taking an hour out of one’s week to relax and get treated comes with numerous health benefits. Just lie back and enjoy your treatment, while the acupuncturist does the work.

Don’t let stress control your life, instead take control of the stress in your life.