It can be very easy to feel like we’re not in control of our own lives. With so many different responsibilities and people to worry about, who’s really running the show? In the end, you’re in charge of your own life, but it can be hard sometimes to remember that among all the stress and hubbub of the day-to-day. Whenever you’re feeling a little too anxious, just read these seven tips on how to chill out. You’ll feel better in no time — I guarantee it!

1. Meditate.

Meditation involves sitting, usually cross-legged, and focusing on your breathing patterns. The point of meditation is to let your mind let go of all of your stresses and to clear it completely. Meditation is a popular way to relax, and meditation sessions can last as long as you want. 10-minute sessions are fine, while some people might find hour-long meditation sessions to be the most helpful. However, meditation is good for more than just relaxation. According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation has been shown to improve symptoms of the following conditions: asthma, cancer, pain, and sleep problems, among others.

2. Practice yoga.

Yoga, like meditation, is a great way to relax. It often focuses on clearing your mind of all worries and letting it drift. However, because yoga is based more on holding poses for longer periods of time and moving, yoga is great for a light workout or for a good stretching session. In one study, people who practiced yoga regularly produced less of a stress-inducing hormone, therefore leaving them more relaxed in the long run.

3. Get moving.

Exercise is a great way to chill out. When you work up a sweat, your body releases endorphins, which have been shown to increase mood and enhance body image. So next time you’re feeling too stressed out, hop on a bike or go for a run. Even a moderate amount of exercise is sure to make you feel better.

4. Take a spa day.

Your body takes a lot of abuse day to day, so show it some love with some much-needed pampering. Shave, put on a face mask, or paint your nails. Soaking in a warm bath might be a good option, since studies have shown that doing so increases your body temperature, therefore making you feel more relaxed. This also makes it easier to go to sleep once bedtime rolls around.

5. Smile.

Research over the years has shown that the act of smiling, even if you don’t feel particularly happy, improves your mood. According to researcher Judith Grob, we think, “I smile, so I must be happy.” Laughing can produce a similar effect. If you’re feeling really stressed, start laughing to yourself. You may feel insane, but pretty soon the happy mood will follow.

6. Take up a hobby.

Hobbies are great ways to remove yourself from your routine and to chill out a little bit. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, having a hobby can do wonders to improve your mood. And if you don’t have a hobby and don’t know where to start? Try gardening! A study done in the Netherlands showed that gardeners were way less stressed after gardening than people who read for the same amount of time.

7. Play music.

Musical instruments are a great outlet for people looking to chill. Not only is music a great way to connect with other people with similar interests, but it also has been shown to lift your spirits. WebMD credits music with improving mood regardless of genre. So whether you’re into slow classical music or heavy metal, chances are you’ll feel a lot calmer after a short jam session.

Featured photo credit: B.C. Lorio via flickr.com

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