Stress is a killer. It has been linked to heart disease, stroke and even cancer. If left untreated, it can lead to depression, bipolar disorder and social anxiety. Small amounts of stress may be helpful in getting you motivated to get things done. Unhealthy amounts of it, however, can end up having the opposite effect, crippling you and the progress of your career.

Studies have shown the stress relief that comes from practices such as meditation and yoga. When you are stressed, you become agitated. Meditation and yoga both promote relaxation, which is the natural opposite of stress.

Meditation and yoga are well worth considering, but there are other simple techniques you can use, starting now, that will help you cope with the demands of your life that are creating so much stress.

1. Take a timeout

Stop what you’re doing and sit with your spine straight. Take slow, deep breaths, and try to concentrate only on your breathing. Breathe through your nose into your abdomen and feel your belly expand. As you let it out, pay attention to the contraction in your lungs and belly. Do this five to ten times to bring about a sense of calm as more oxygen is delivered to your body’s cells.

2. Get moving

When you’re at work, get up and move around occasionally. When you get home, exercises like running and cycling can help you get rid of much of the frustration that has built up during the day. Cardiovascular exercise has been shown to reverse some of the worst effects of chronic stress.

3. Accept that you’re not in control

Despite our best-laid plans, things can go wrong and disrupt the path to our goals. Realize your efforts are under your control—the results are not. Give all of your energy to those actions that are needed to reach your goals. Then, let go and don’t obsess over the outcome.

4. Change your diet

Little changes can have a significant impact. Take your food, for instance. One small change like adding dark chocolate into your daily diet turns out to be an effective way of beating stress. Chocolate contains several chemicals that have been shown to relieve feelings of stress and anxiety and replace them with feelings of contentment. Nuts, avocados and olive oil work well, too.

5. Adjust your attitude

We can change the way we feel about the things that are stressing us by acting differently towards them. This idea is not some new age philosophy. It has been proven that acting happy can eventually make you happy. So, adjust your attitude today. In a few days, most of your stress could be a thing of the past.

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