Finding ways to deal with stress can be a difficult task. It’s far too easy to get caught up in responsibilities between professional goals, personal relationships, and, frankly, life. In our efforts to become the people we want to be, we can forget to take care of who we are right now. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We’ve come up with five stress solutions to help us balance what we need to do for our goals and also ourselves.

1. Exercise

One of the best stress solutions to practice is to move the body. Exercise releases endorphins that improve mood and mentality. This works best over time, such as frequent routines of 30 minutes or more throughout the week. If you’re not an avid gym-goer, a simple 20-minute walk, run, or swim can help during extreme times of stress. You can also make movement part of your daily life with small steps like dance breaks, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or being active with your kids.

2. Release

Sometimes, stress suddenly piles up and it feels like nothing will help. This is an indication to just let it out. Releasing your stress can come in the form of writing everything down, calling a close friend or family member to vent about the situations weighing you down, or a number of other things. Smiling more can also be a good release, according to research.

3. Meditate

Some stress can make you retreat into yourself. Your coping method might be to become quiet or distant. Your stress can be redirected when you turn to solutions like meditation. The simplest form of meditation is to close your eyes, focus on the present moment, and only think about your breathing. This centers the body and mind, bringing more attention to deep emotions and feelings while taking attention from external, stress-causing factors. Meditation often results in a clear head, new perspectives, and more mindfulness over time.

4. Identify

If you’re stressed more often than not, you likely need to take a long, hard look at what’s causing your stress. Take a moment to understand your habits and attitude throughout the day. Do you constantly feel overwhelmed? Have you come to accept stress as an integrated part of your hectic life? If this is the case, you need to establish new boundaries. Take on less work at the office or relay your feelings more at home. The more clearly you identify your stress, the better you can combat it.

5. Avoid, Alter, Adapt, and Accept

The four As of stress management are classic stress solutions. Avoidance is a reflection of the “new boundaries” mentioned above. Don’t take on things that you cannot handle. Avoid encounters with people that agitate you. To alter and adapt are similar. They essentially mean to meet the situation at hand halfway. What can you do to improve your mood about things you cannot avoid? Try expressing your feelings better or achieving a better balance in your life. Finally, accept. There are some things in life we cannot control. The more we learn to live in stride with the things that bother us we cannot change, the happier we’ll be.

Stress Solutions Can Help You

Stress comes and goes. It’s hard to deal with sometimes and can slowly build up. No matter which of these stress solutions you see most fitting, always remember your stress does not define you. The more you practice healthy coping, the better you’ll feel. What’s your favorite coping method? Tell us in the comments below!