April is National Stress Awareness Month which has been celebrated since 1992 to inform people about the dangers of stress, promote successful coping strategies and demystify the misconceptions around the subject.

We all know a little bit of stress is actually good for you since it can help you detect harmful situations and react appropriately. Research shows that short-lived stress can improve alertness and performance as well as boost memory. But when a person is stressed out for a longer period of time (weeks or months), stress turns bad. Chronic stress can constrict blood vessels, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Also too much stress can overthrow your immune system and the symptoms don’t stop there. From rapid breathing high blood pressure to heartburn to insomnia, aches and even depression, stress affects your body in a multitude of ways.

In honor of #StressAwarenessMonth the team at BPI Sports gathered the 4 top ways to lower your stress levels for better stress management. If you have proper strategies to deal with daily stresses, you’ll be better equipped to handle it and not let it affect you in the negative ways listed above. From to , find all tips below and practice your favorites.

Physical Exercise:

It goes without saying that working out regularly keeps you healthy and improves your overall sense of well-being. It helps you maintain your weight, gives you more energy and encourages to gain lean muscle mass. But did you know it helps you manage stress? Exercising produces feel-good endorphins, chemicals that react like natural painkillers, putting you in a better mood every day. Being active regularly will improve your sleep and improve your self-confidence which in turn lowers your chances of having depression or bouts of anxiety.

If you’re looking to improve your exercise game, BPI Sports has numerous sports nutrition supplements, each with their own benefits, including protein powders, recovery formulas and pre-workouts. If you’re looking for more energy, increased performance and endurance when you work out, try BPI Sports Best Aminos™ w/Energy. It contains peptide linked BCAAs and glutamine with no fillers or maltodextrin. With Best Amino w/Energy, you can train harder for longer and recover faster.

Social Support:

If you have a great group of friends, respectable peers and supportive family, you’re more likely to manage stress better. A coffee break with a colleague, a family reunion or catching a flick with a friend can do wonders for your stress levels. Conversation, sharing personal stories or challenges, asking for advice, all can help ease difficult times. Plus, when you reach out first, others will reciprocate and you have the chance to return the favor so to speak. This back and forth will eventually create stronger friendships and bonds, which is even better for stress management.

Relaxing Activities:

Hobbies, me-time, however you call those activities that help you unwind, you should do more of them to promote a healthier work-life balance. Some people swear by gardening. In fact, a study in the Netherlands suggests that gardening can help lower cortisol levels and boost mood among those who have just finished a stressful task. Others love to read books and find that the solo activity unwinds them. The Telegraph reported that reading was linked to a slower heart rate and muscle relaxation. You can try to pick up painting, learning how to play an instrument or practice yoga.

Meditation and Guided Imagery:

If you’ve never meditated, note that it can take you time to get used to the habit but it truly has some wonderful health benefits with the number one being lowering stress levels. You can start with 10 minutes a day and build your way up from that. Some people like to chant a relaxing mantra while other just like to focus on breathing deeply. Just make sure you close your eyes and are in a room with no distractions. If you’re having a hard time quieting your mind, try guided imagery instead or visualization. Just pick your visual journey, say the beach or the forest, and listen to a guided imagery clip about the topic. Follow the sound of the music and voice over, and let go of daily stresses while you walk along the serene shores of the Caribbean perhaps.

So go on now and celebrate National Stress Awareness Month and de-stress the right way!