Let’s talk about stress for a minute. It’s quickly becoming one of the biggest killers in the world. We run ourselves ragged between two-income households, too much overtime, mounting credit card debt, and trying to do too much while eating a crappy diet and getting little in the way of exercise. It’s important that we take the time to de-stress. It’s crucial that we find a few things we can do to calm down and relax. Thankfully that’s a lot simpler to do than you may think.

Life is a balancing act. We all have times when we’re extremely busy and under a lot of pressure either at work or at home. Stress is part of our life. But so is stopping to smell the roses and being thankful for everything we have. So tip the scales back into balance, we just have to remind ourselves to take a few minutes here and there to slow down and calm down.

There are long traditions of using meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, and prayer to calm the mind. They work just as well today as they have in the past one thousand years. Start practicing them so that when you feel particularly stressed, you have a go-to tool to help you calm back down.

Getting exercise is another great way to de-stress. You can do something simple like going for walk or run. You can join a gym, sign up for an exercise class, swim some laps, or pick up an old favorite like tennis or basketball. What you do doesn’t matter all that much, provided you have fun. The more enjoyable the type of exercise, the more likely you’ll be to stick with it and de-stress on a regular basis.

Picking up a hobby like knitting or painting, for example, can be another great way to relax. Or grab a good book and get back in the habit of reading again. Pampering yourself with a hot bath or a massage can be quite effective as well. Think about the things you enjoy doing that help you relax and calm down.  Then make it a priority to do more of them on a regular basis.

The good news is that you don’t have to spend hours meditating or exercising to reduce the effects of stress. Taking just ten minutes here and there can make a big difference. Give it a try. You’ll start to feel better and more importantly, you’ll start to reverse some of the damage stress does to your body and your mind.