Stress is a nasal part of life. While in certain circumstances acute stress can prove motivating, stimulating, and even healthy, it is only for a short while. An abundance of stress and repeated acute stress can both cause multiple and negative health consequences. These range from exhaustion and fatigue to insomnia and high blood pressure to even depression. Learning how to manage stress is essential for any person who wants to stay healthy and happy. Keep reading this article to learn 7 tips for managing stress in your life.

1) Try and maintain a sense of humour.

No matter how dark or dense your day may feel, even some low-key dry wit can lighten any mood. When you are with others, making even the smallest joke with a smile can add some relief to the moment. Even when you are alone, saying a joke out loud can make you feel a little better. There is no actual scientific proof that laughter is the best medicine, as some claim, but it can help a little most of the time.

2) Write it all down.

Journaling can be a very effective way to manage your stress as an outlet to pent up feelings. Write down all your problems. Jot down all the things stressing you out, ranging from fears to doubts to whatever negative thoughts are passing through your mind. Julia Cameron, in her best-selling “The Artist’s Way,” has her followers write three full long-hand pages each morning to clear their heads before they begin their day. Sometimes, writing down your deepest doubts on paper and then watching them vaporize in a burning bowl ceremony can feel tremendously releasing. Other time it can help to identify the most important problem to focus on first and help to identify a solution. If this is difficult try and seek professional help to enhance your own abilities.

3) Get some exercise.

The stress busting benefits of exercise are possibly too numerous to list in this article, but just tapping into endorphins after 20 minutes of sweat can change your focus for an entire day. The release of exercise can improve most moods at least a few degrees, and if you start working out thinking about something bothering you, then the exercise usually proves a good time for answers to come to you, although often whatever was irking you just won’t be anymore when you’re done getting exercise. Working out outdoors in sunlight is usually a real stressbuster!

4) Talk to someone.

Human beings are social creatures, and sometimes the only stress management that is needed is to decompress verbally. You do not always need a professional psychiatrist here, as sometimes you just need a friend to chat with. If the end of your day does not somehow regularly involve a friend or loved one asking you how your day went, you are really missing out on this important stress buffer. Of all these 7 tips for managing stress, phoning a friend is probably the easiest one to do, given the plethora of options, from actual phones and wireless phones, to social media to Skype.

5) Take a vacation.

Australians and citizens of some other industrial nations are chronically overworked. Some employees actually never use all their paid vacation time! Even when life is not all that hard, seeing the same scenery over and over and going through the same routine for too long can be a stress all its own. At least once a year, get together with someone you love or whose company you really enjoy and then go somewhere you have never been before to see something new. The rest of the year, take short vacations or weekend trips to places familiar to you that you always find rejuvenating. Re-charging is really important to stress management, and having something positive to look forward to helps too.

6) Get enough sleep.

You have probably heard it before: human adults should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each and every night. The right number for each person does vary, but chronic sleep deprivation over time takes a toll on the mind and body and their ability to handle stress. Lack of sleep causes the body to get slightly out of hormonal balance, and appetite increases to make up for the lost energy. The kinds of foods you go for in these circumstances boost your weight, make your mind sluggish, and kill your metabolism. Good sleep is pivotal to our mental health!

7) Breathe with ease.

When you consciously breathe from your diaphragm, you oxygenate your blood. This immediately provides a calming effect across your body. On the other hand, if you are prone to chest breathing that is shallow, your pulse rate shoots up, and your muscles tense and contract, which the opposite direction of where you want to head. Practicing breathing easily is fortunately and appropriately very easy. Just place one hand on your belly, just below the navel. Watch as your hand guides your stomach in and out while you inhale while counting to four; pause, and exhale slowly.

Now that you know these 7 tips for managing stress, you have a toolbox of options at your disposal the next time you are feeling overwhelmed with what life is throwing at you. For maximum effect, try pairing some of these tips together, like getting enough sleep at night and then exercising at the start of your day. Try them all out to find which ones give you the clarity, peace, and good feelings you need to make it through the next week of your life.