Stress is a fact of life, and in moderate amounts, it can actually be beneficial. However, excessive amounts of it have been linked to a plethora of health problems, and can ultimately reduce life expectancy. Here are some tips that can help you effectively manage stress and live life to your fullest potential.

Exercise Regularly

Everyone knows that physical fitness is important, but in practice few people exercise as much as they should. Research has shown that as many as 90 million Americans are classified as obese. Being a couch potato will make you vulnerable to elevated stress levels and will weaken your immune system which will open you up to illness. Exercise, by contrast, will make you look better, feel better, provide you with a stronger libido and will make you more resilient against stress.

Learn How to Balance Work and Play

People are busier today than ever before. High paying jobs such as law, engineering or medicine require long hours at the office, while those who are not highly educated will often have to work multiple low paying jobs just to make ends meet. Either way, too much work leads to higher stress, which isn’t good for you. Learn when to say “no” to excessive work or projects and spend more time relaxing with your friends or family. Making lots of money becomes a pyrrhic victory if you succumb to stress related health problems.

Get the Proper Amount of Sleep

A growing number of people are sleep deprived, and this will result in elevated stress levels. Insufficient sleep causes irritability, difficulty concentrating, weakened motor skills and poor reaction time, which can lead to accidents. People that are under high levels of stress often have trouble sleeping because their minds are consumed with thoughts related to work, school, finance, marriage troubles or other issues. Some ways in which you can get more sleep is to take a warm bath or shower before going to bed, catch up on reading and avoiding sugary foods. Sleeping pills should be avoided as they can become habit forming. You can also use Lavender essential oils to create a calming environment for a good night’s sleep.

Be Mindful of What You Put into Your Body

One reason why so many people have elevated stress levels is due to the substances they put in their bodies. Stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine will raise stress levels and should be reduced or eliminated entirely. It is common for people to resort to drinking alcoholic beverages when life has them down, but alcohol is only a stimulant in lower amounts and will act as a depressant when excessively consumed. Drink tea, water or fruit juice as an alternative.

Always Remember to Relax

Knowing how to relax is a tried and proven way of reducing stress. One method for doing this is a variety of essential oils. These substances are all natural and have been used for centuries to bring about both physical and mental well-being. When you feel your stress levels increasing you could also repeat soothing words such as peace, love, tranquility, or calm in order to relax your mind.