Lots of people accept stress as a fact of life and try to put a brave face on it. It’s only when they finally burn out or get seriously ill that they start considering changes. But that’s not the right approach. In fact, you can spare yourself no end of suffering by taking action today. And here is the good news: you don’t even need to make particularly radical changes to boost your well-being.

Sometimes all it takes to beat work-related stress is exercise. When you start to feel your stomach get knotted, exercise is the best medicine. Exercise is commonly applauded for its positive impacts on disease and overall health, but exercise has also reliably been shown to boost mood. The higher the intensity of the workout, the more you will benefit.

Below are other effective ways to reduce stress:

– Create a soothing space. Research suggests that warm colours like red excite you and cooler, muted colours like blue, green, or grey relax you, says Molly Roberts, MD, president of the American Holistic Medical Association—but surrounding yourself in any colour you find soothing can help bring on calm.

– Ditch the phone. This doesn’t mean put it on “do not disturb” and look at it less: everyone knows that is not a proper solution. Put it in a drawer an hour before bed and ignore it – have a bath, watch a film or read a book. You won’t check your work emails and you will stop scrolling through the seemingly endless achievements of your peers that will make you panic and feel as if you are getting nowhere. Breathe.

– Get the gratitude attitude. Scribbling down five things you’re grateful for can help you feel happier and sleep better, according to a US study. Try it when you feel overwhelmed to quickly shift your mindset.

– Healthy habits. It’s tempting, when home all the time, to ‘treat yourself to a late night and unhealthy food — and this might be fun for an evening or weekend but will probably not be a good habit to fall into. Research suggests that healthy eating, adequate sleep and periodic exercise are all associated with improved mental health and a stronger immune system. Just like brushing and flossing your teeth, eating, sleeping and exercise should be part of your daily routine.

– Connect with people. Staying connected with your friends, family and your community is the biggest and the best predictor of our happiness. Studies after studies have proven if we have close social relationships, then we are bound to live happier lives. Robert Sapolsky, the world-famous anthropologist and neurologist, says:
The single best predictor of an ability to deal well with stress is how socially connected you are.