Bad days happen – like when you slip getting out of your car, get a parking ticket on your lunch break, and then realize you forgot to defrost the chicken for dinner? It’s perfectly normal to have days like this and stress out every once in awhile, but constant stress can really take a toll on your energy and immune system. There are, however, certain ways that can really help you feel better and to lower stress.

Exercise – One of the most effective stress relievers is exercise – ever heard of a runner’s high? Exercise is a natural way to de-stress because it releases powerful endorphin chemicals in the brain, which act like the body’s built-in painkillers and mood-lifters. If running isn’t your thing, try yoga – it’ll encourage you to relax, slow down your breathing, and make you focus on the present.

Spend some time in nature
– Nature has a magical way of making you realize how little you and your problems really are. Try taking a walk outside, or better yet, try actually watching a sunrise or sunset. Even just looking at photos of nature can help you relax!

Incorporate essential oils & herbs – Try diffusing essential oils like lavender and orange blossom, which promote balance and have a relaxing effect on your nervous system. To really take the edge off – sans wine – try some organic lemon balm tea. Lemon balm is a wonderful herb that has calming effects, and as an added bonus, it helps with digestive troubles and headaches!

Take magnesium – Stress can deplete magnesium levels and a magnesium deficiency can make stress even worse; it can also lead to anxiety issues (eek!). A safe dose typically ranges from 300mg to 500mg, but check with your doctor. Some even refer to magnesium as “the original chill pill.”

Laugh – no but really! – Research shows that laughter has many positive effects, including relieving stress and soothing tension. So be sure to include a heavy dose of laughter in your life, whether that means binging on reruns of Friends, or reminiscing with your real-life friends about your last trip.

Eat some chocolate
– Dark chocolate regulates levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and it only takes a little (think one square) to calm your nerves. For the healthiest option, opt for organic, fair trade chocolate with at least 70% cacao.