Stress is a physical response to something that might harm you in some way. In other words, it is your body’s way of protecting you from a perceived threat.

Individuals respond to stress in different ways.

The stress response suppresses the immune system, increasing susceptibility to colds and other chronic diseases. Furthermore, the buildup of stress can contribute to depression and anxiety.

We can’t avoid all sources of stress in our lives, nor would we want to. But we can develop healthier ways of responding to them.

Below you can learn 7 habits which you can incorporate into your daily routine:

#1 Meditate

Anyone can practice meditation. It’s inexpensive and simple, and it doesn’t require any special equipment.

Meditation originally was meant to help deepen understanding of the mystical and sacred forces of life. In present days, meditation is usually used for stress reduction and relaxation.

Some individuals find that learning mindfulness methods and practicing them with a group is especially helpful. In addition, mindfulness-based stress reduction training, developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA by

In addition, mindfulness-based stress reduction training, developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn is now widely available in cities throughout the U.S.

#2 Go to sleep early

Working long hours is stressful enough, but when it cuts into usual hours of sleep, stress levels will go up higher. At the same time, getting a good night’s sleep can help reduce the effects of stress. Most individuals need 7-8 hours of sleep/night. Practicing good sleep hygiene along with stress-lowering tactics can help improve your quality of sleep.

#3 Physical exercise

Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits. Daily physical exercise can increase self-confidence, and it can lower the symptoms connected with anxiety and mild depression.

Moreover, physical exercise has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, and dissipate stress. It’s a usual experience among endurance athletes and has been verified in clinical trials that have successfully used moderate physical exercise to treat anxiety disorders and clinical depression.

#4 Spend time in nature

You do not have to depart on a 4-day wilderness trek to receive the beneficial effects that the natural world has to offer. You can connect with nature anytime, anywhere and at no cost.

A study at the University of Rochester concluded that just looking at natural scenery (as opposed to manmade environments) makes us feel more generous, connected to others, and in tune with our inner selves. More importantly, because humans find nature inherently appealing, we can naturally focus on what we are experiencing out in nature. Therefore, this provides a respite for our overactive minds, refreshing us for new tasks.

Additionally, exposure to nature (and sun) not only makes you feel better emotionally, it also contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, muscle tension, heart rate, and the production of stress hormones.

#5 Plant-based diet

Plant-based foods like veggies, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, and seeds all contain specific nutrients that help reduce physical and mental stress.

A study which was published in 2012 in the Nutrition Journal demonstrates that individuals who regularly eat meat or dairy products reported better moods and less stress after only 2 weeks on a complete vegetarian (vegan) diet. Another study conducted at Centro Caribeño de Estudios Postgraduados shows notably less depression and anxiety reported by a “vegetarian” group compared to a “non-vegetarian” group.

#6 Don’t drink alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows down the brain and the central nervous system’s processes.

“Over time, heavy drinking interferes with the neurotransmitters in the brain that are needed for good mental health. So while alcohol may help deal with stress in the short term, in the long run, drinking alcohol can contribute to the feeling of anxiety and depression and make stress harder to deal with.” – according to Eva Cyhlarova from The Mental Health Foundation.

Therefore, the more often you drink alcohol, the more difficult you relax without it. And each new stress and every case of fatigue cause the desire to drink.

#7 Deep breathing exercises

Breathing techniques (also known as pranayama) help you feel connected to your body and bring your awareness away from the worries in your head, also quieting your mind.

Practicing abdominal breathing for 5 to 10 minutes each day will reduce stress and anxiety. Also, deep breathing exercises increase the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness.