With today’s hectic lifestyles, it’s easy to feel stress and anxiety during the day. While everybody goes through stress, continuously being “stressed out” can cause mental and physical ailments. Unhealthy and frequent doses of stress can also increase blood pressure. The good news is that you can take control with simple relaxation strategies for reducing stress and anxiety during the day. Here are a few practical and easy-to-use suggestions.

Start Your Day Off Right

Meditation can be practiced any time of day, but many relaxation experts point to the early morning hours when you first rise as the best time to practice this daily spiritual-body ritual. No matter what kind of meditation you do, the morning is a time when you have a relatively clear mind—ideal for centering and focusing. In addition, meditating in the morning is an excellent way to start the day, allowing you an opportunity to take deep breaths and prepare both your mind and your body for the challenges of the day ahead. Not into meditation? Then simply take a short morning stroll in the park or listen to some relaxing music.

Visualize a Relaxing You

Do you ever feel overwhelmed? For decades sports psychologists have touted the benefits of using visualization to improve performance, but you can do the same for handling stress. Start by thinking of a very specific area that is stressing you out or has the potential to do so. Then imagine it as if it is taken care of in the best possible way, without stress or anxiety. See yourself calm and in control of the situation. Allow yourself to visualize this scene until you are motivated to begin working on that project or household chore without experiencing negative feelings. You just might find your visualizing even helps you get organized.

Try an Instant Relaxation Strategy

Whether a traffic jam, screaming kids or a meeting with the boss, there are moments when stress has a chokehold on us. Here are some ways to instantly de-stress at a moment’s notice:

  • Stop whatever you’re doing and take three deep breaths.
  • Visualize a time when you felt happy and peaceful.
  • Focus on a small part of your body, such as the sensation of your big toe against your shoe.
  • Press your hand against your chest, close your eyes and feel and hear your heartbeat.

Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Our bodies are like a fine-tuned Swiss watch, functioning to the rhythms, patterns and cycles of our daily lives. One of the most critical timing patterns is our sleep schedule. The consistency of when we go to sleep and when we awake can affect how well we slumber. For deep, restful sleep, it’s best to wind down with a relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to relaxing music before bed. Most importantly, end and start your day at the same time. While you may be tempted to sleep in on weekends, come Monday, you may find you won’t sleep as well.