Many of us are now busier than ever with an ever expanding list of to-do’s that seems never to get any shorter. Commitments to work, school, family, partners, friends and extra-curricular activities can at times become overwhelming. When this happens, the joy we might have previously taken in such activities or relationships tends to dissipate, while the stress factor rises.

This tendency to try to do too much and to fit everything in can lead to even further stress and anxiety. When stress builds up in can have serious consequences for both your physical and emotional wellbeing. Finding ways to reduce your stress and anxiety levels are therefore key to living a more peaceful and happy existence.

The time crunch faced by many people today means that we have less time to accomplish more tasks. Things that are supposed to make our lives easier, email for instance, can actually increase the amount of things we have to do while simultaneously decreasing the amount of time we have to do them in. Fast paced, high speed communication means that people expect responses faster than ever.

In order to take a time off from the slew of commitments and duties overfilling our lives, it can sometimes be important to just tune out for a while. If, for instance, you are used to starting your day by checking your email and busily trying to get through a few tasks first thing in the morning, you might want to try out a different routine.

According to organizational gurus, checking your email first thing in the morning is actually a time waster. Instead of focusing on the tasks you were hoping to accomplish, you can become easily distracted by less important matters that nevertheless take up your time.

On top of this though, checking emails can actually increase your anxiety levels before you’ve even had time to wake up. A better answer might be to begin with a relaxation routine or stress reduction activity that will help you be able to cope more efficiently with the string of chores and tasks set out for the day.

Exercise first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day out right. A light run or a yoga routine will help get you in touch with your body, bringing a calming awareness to your whole day. Alternatively, a quite meditation, even for only fifteen or twenty minutes in the morning can help you deal with the stressful situations that may arise throughout the day more effectively and calmly.

Taking time during the day to ‘unplug’ is also an important step to reducing stress. When spending time with partners, friends, or children, turning off your blackberry or iphone will allow you to focus on what is happening in the present moment. And being in the present is the best thing you can do to dramatically, and immediately, reduce stress levels.

TV likewise is hardly a relaxing pastime and no matter what you’re watching it simply doesn’t qualify as quality time with the family. Eliminating television from your daily routine can be an important step to combating stress. Watching dramas, crime shows and at times especially even the evening news can do a lot of damage to your emotional well being. Tuning in to find out about one major disaster after another is enough to raise the blood pressure of even the most peaceful among us.

Being able to let go of worries and anxieties about work or other commitments not immediately relevant is one of the tricks of truly happy people. Moreover, your relationships will improve and you will gain the benefits of connecting with people in the moment—a thing which can in and of itself help to reduce stress. Finding activities that bring you peace and joy rather than those that raise the anxiety odometer can significantly impact your life for the better.

While it can certainly be daunting to change up our routine and allow ourselves some time off, it is the only way to get back in touch with the important things in life. For a certain period each day it is essential to take a deep breath and de-stress.

A couple of tried and true ways of distressing include, meditation, exercise, massage, and just simply sitting quietly with nature. If you can schedule in some time for yourself where you are undisturbed by the pressures of work and other duties, you will find yourself not only beginning to calm down but also being able to be more productive when you do return from your sanctuary.

Stress and anxiety are dangerous conditions that can become chronic thereby having serious effects on our health. As such you owe it to yourself and to those around you to take a moment or two to unplug from your day and all the gadgets that keep you in the loop and simply stop and smell the roses. Your heart, body and mind will certainly thank you.

Author's Bio: 

Dale Miller is a health, sports, fitness and nutrition enthusiast. He operates and writes a blog at