April is Stress Awareness Month

Rent a funny movie, go to a yoga class, keep a journal — these proven stress relief methods work. Not only will you feel better, but you'll be happier.

10 tips to help reduce stress in your life:

1.  Exercise. Run, do some yoga, take a kickboxing class.  The main thing is to find a physical activity that you enjoy, whether it’s Zumba or swimming laps.

2.  Socialize. Spending time with friends and family who give you a sense of belonging, purpose, and fun may provide all the stress relief you need.

3.  Journal.  Dedicating a period of time every day to write about a situation that is bothering you may reduce tension and give you stress relief for the rest of the day. Keeping a journal can also help you solve problems or find positive angles amongst the stressors.

4.  Laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine. It is proven to lower tension, and at the same time, improves blood flow and the health of your heart. Rent a funny movie or hang out with a friend who makes you laugh, and forget about your worries for a while.

5.  Take care of yourself. When tension spikes, it can be tempting to put yourself last — but prioritizing healthy eating, physical activity, relationships, and sleep is necessary if you want to avoid making your stress worse.

6.  Get some fresh air. If you are cooped up inside all day, take a few minutes to get outside and see the sun. A little time in the great outdoors can improve your mood and help you relax.

7.  Be kind to yourself. Think about positive affirmations daily. Thinking negative thoughts only makes you feel bad and will increase stress. Tell yourself you are doing a good job, and believe it!

8.  Meditate. Practice deep breathing and meditation exercises daily, and when you feel tension rising.

9.  Be thankful. Showing thanks for your family, friends, and loved ones and being thankful for the positive aspects of your life has a calming affect. Not only does it give you perspective, it makes other people feel good, too.

10.  Make a change. Sometimes the best way to obtain stress relief is to remove your source of tension.