Experiencing stress is a normal part of life, and it can be triggered differently in different people. Stress can stem from daily issues, such as negative emotions towards family and friends, taking on too much responsibility or even as simple as losing your car keys. But it could also come from heavy life impacts such as divorce, death of a loved one or chronic illness or injury.

The physical tension and emotional strain of stress can lead to high blood pressure, migraines, back pain and heart disease. But just as physical tension can increase psychological tension, physical relaxation can help with mental relaxation. Here are five stress-relieving techniques that will help your body respond less to stress triggers and approach situations in a more proactive and peaceful manner.

1. Exercise on a Consistent Basis 

Exercise is a form of meditation. It releases the “feel good” neurotransmitters in your body called endorphins and brings your attention to your body’s movement and physical activity and away from the day’s annoyances. As you exercise regularly, your mind will learn to focus on breathing, perseverance and taking on a single task at a time. This can carry over to other aspects of your life and give you an overall calmer and clearer mindset.

2. Step Outside When You Can 

When was the last time you set your phone down and took a step outside? Taking yourself out of the environment that causes feelings of sadness, anxiety and helplessness can help reduce tension. Spend time outdoors and take in the sight, sound, feeling and smell of nature, which has proven to relieve stressful emotions such as fear and anger while lowering blood pressure and stabilizing your heart rate. Take your lunch break or half an hour out of your day to connect with the outdoors.

3. Don’t Take on More Than You Can Handle 

Sometimes the simplest yet hardest advice to take for destressing is to avoid the stress in the first place. Worry less about taking on the challenges of over-scheduling yourself and focus more on balancing what’s currently on your plate. Oftentimes, we unknowingly create our own stress by overpromising things we can’t deliver. Learn to say no and face your current projects at hand before accepting new ones.

4. Fuel Your Body Naturally and Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Something that’s often overlooked is proper nutrition and a good night’s sleep. With a healthy diet and 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night, your body will build the energy it takes to recover from past stress while learning to take on new situations. Avoid caffeine and stimulants that steer away from proper sleep and focus on foods that bring natural energy throughout the day.

5. Remember to Reward Yourself

Many people continuously find themselves chasing the light at the end of the tunnel when under stress. Overcoming a stressful time should never go unnoticed. Do something nice for yourself after accomplishing a personal goal or a major project. Maybe it’s something as small as treating yourself to a nice meal or as big as planning a mini getaway to reward yourself with relaxation time. Celebrating your accomplishments can give you motivation through the next stressful situation you face.

Small Changes Lead to Big Rewards

Juggling work, family and other commitments can distract you from the importance of self-care. Small steps to improve your mental and physical health can drastically change your outlook on the stresses in your life. Change your mentality and better your well-being with these simple tips and improve your quality of life for the long run.