Stress is a major problem in the Western world, rapidly becoming an epidemic. Everyone handles stress differently. Some people thrive on it and seem to shake off the negative effects of stress. Other people suffer serious consequences such as headaches, illness, tenseness and more. Over long period of times, stress will cause physical damage to your body.

The following eight top tips will help you to live a more stress free life.

1) Take some exercise. Exercise is a great way to shake off the negative effects of stress, plus when you are fitter, stress has less of a negative effect on you. Even as little as 20 minutes of exercise a day will have a beneficial effect on your stress levels. Whether it is jogging, cycling, swimming, walking or anything else, it will have a positive effect on your life.

2) Takes some YOU time. With careers, lives and family, taking time out for yourself can be very difficult to get. Whether you have a relaxing bath, go for a walk or just sit in a comfy chair with a newspaper, it doesn’t matter. Taking time out for you lets you relax and let go of the stresses in your life and remember the good things about life. If you have kids, get your partner to look after them whilst you relax.

3) Meditate. Meditation is becoming increasingly popular in Western culture as a method of relaxation with chief executive and company owners practising it to reduce their stress and improve their clarity of focus. Just a few minutes every day will help you avoid the negative effects of stress.

4) Recognise when you are stressed. Often you can become short tempered and irritable without realising that you are stressed. When you recognise that you are stressed, then you can deal with it before it becomes a serious problem.

5) Stop worrying about what other people think about you and what you do. People will get extremely stressed if they are worrying about whether other people approve of their actions. Do what you feel is right for you and enjoy it (so long as you don’t hurt anyone else in the process).

6) Treat yourself. You may spend lots of time looking after other people, running around after them but treat yourself too. Get yourself flowers, some nice food or anything that’s a treat because you deserve it too. Not only will you enjoy yourself, but you’ll also get the chance to reduce your stress!

7) Use relaxation music. There are a lot of CD’s, including my own, that are specially designed to help you relax and let go of stress. Whether you prefer a guided relaxation or just music to drift to by yourself, it will help you to relax and feel more calm.

8) Deal with your problems. People get stressed because they have problems piling up. Usually, they take the Ostrich approach and stick their head in the sand and hope the problems go away. Sadly, they don’t usually. By dealing with them, you are removing sources of stress for you.

These eight tips will help you to maintain a more relaxed state of mind and be able to deal with any stress you encounter better. As part of any stress management program, relaxation is a vital key, so take some time out for yourself and relax .. you know you’ll enjoy it!