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Feeling frazzled? You’re not alone. More than half of Americans suffer from moderate to high stress levels. With stress being linked to chronic health problems like diabetes, heart disease and obesity, we need concrete advice on how to take the pressure off. Try these simple stress management tips to help you slow down, gain a new perspective and bring your life back into balance each new day.

Tips to reduce stress and get happy

Say yes to less

One of the easiest things we can all do to minimize stress is to slow down the pace of our lives. The dizzying speed of the 21st century with instant messaging, iPhones, email, voicemail and other constant interruptions in our daily life can make us feel like we have to live at warp speed. The pace we live our lives is a choice. Choose to turn your phone off, make less commitments, scale back on activities and spend more time reconnecting (in a real, personal way) with those you love best.

Go outside to reduce stressGo outdoors

The natural world is a healing place. In modern society, we can easily spend the majority of our lives inside, barely experiencing the outdoors except the time it takes to walk from our car to our front door. As creatures of nature, it should come as no surprise that spending time outdoors can actually help to reduce stress in both adults and children. Try to switch up some of your activities to spend more time in nature. For example, instead of watching TV, go outside and watch the stars. Ditch the treadmill and take a fun run with your kids. Plant a garden and eat more fresh food. Spread a blanket out in the park and let the afternoon pass by without taking time to check your phone, texts, email or voicemail. Live in the moment and be a happier, less stressed, more refreshed version of you.

Declutter your life

Has your stress level reached critical mass? It’s time to declutter your life. Most Americans have more stuff than we really need and wading through all the excess takes its toll on us. The secret to a stress-free home is living with less. Carve out some time to spend reducing clutter. Don’t make it an extra stressor, just take it one room at a time. Make piles for keep, give-away and recycle. Once you are finished decluttering (whew! feels like a breath of fresh air, doesn’t it?), make it a habit to go through the house once a month to make sure more clutter doesn’t pile up.

How to laugh moreGet your giggle on

Laughter really is the best medicine. Did you know that laughing can actually help to boost your immune system, which in turn helps to keep stress to a minimum? Don’t be shy. Get your giggle on every day by surrounding yourself with people who make you smile. Watch funny shows you like on TV. Tell silly jokes. Keep the mood light and keep stress at bay.

Enjoy the moment

Sometimes, stress is really just a state of mind. Do you live inside your head two, three or more steps ahead of the moment you are actually living? Are you focusing all your attention on the goal, but forgetting to enjoy the moment? If you are a planner, this is a natural way for the brain to work, but it can be a huge impediment to your stress level and healthy state of mind. If you find yourself feeling pressured, do your best to leave your analytical mind behind, set your goals to the side and enjoy the journey for what it is. Ups, downs, twists and turns -- don’t let the end goal distract you from enjoying the adventure of life.

More on happiness

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10 Foods that lift your mood
LOL! Add more laughter to your life


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