We live in a 24/7, “always on” world, and we weren’t meant to. Our bodies just can’t keep up, and most of us need a lot more down time than we’re getting, which understandably stresses us out. It’s no wonder that heart attacks are one of the leading causes of death; most of us are stressed to the max!

Fortunately, there are some quick, easy things you can do that will bring your stress levels down from the stratosphere and help you relax and unwind. If you take the time to do these things every day, you’ll feel a lot better.

The best part? You can start putting these ideas to use just moments after you finish reading this.

1) Take a walk. Science has proven that a 15-minute walk can reduce your cortisol levels by as much as 25 percent. If you take that same fifteen-minute walk in the woods, the impact is doubled and you can cut your cortisol levels in half! Who knew Mother Nature could be such a powerful ally where stress reduction was concerned?

2) Meditate or visualize. A lot of people roll their eyes when they think about meditation, but there’s actually something to it, and you don’t have to spend a lot of time at it, either. If you give yourself 15 minutes a day with no distractions, it will do wonders. Just close your eyes and think about the major problems in your life being solved and how good your life will be when that happens. In addition, visualize your life as you wish it to be, with all your goals achieved and wishes fulfilled. It doesn’t matter that the visualization may not be realistic; the goal here is to put you in a better frame of mind, and either of those techniques will do exactly that.

3) Maintain a regular sleep schedule. This is a biggie, because too few people get enough sleep, and they pay a heavy price for it. Your body needs 8-9 hours of quality sleep a night, and your boss isn’t going to enforce a bedtime. He’ll be thrilled if you stay up till two in the morning doing work on his behalf. Resist that temptation. Pick a reasonable bedtime and stick with it. Your body and mind will thank you for it!

Minimizing the impact of stress on your life doesn’t have to be this massive undertaking. You can reap amazing benefits by spending as little as 15 minutes a day, and you owe yourself at least that much down time, don’t you?

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