In America, we are more stressed now than ever before causing health issues and serious side effects to our well being. How do we change that? How do we collectively reduce stress levels and increase daily happiness? Here are a few things we can do to decrease our stress levels.

Ways to Decrease Our Stress Levels

#1 – Get 7-8 Hours of Sleep on a Regular Basis. 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. We do not get enough sleep because we watch too much television and use computers and cell phones in the bedroom. Artificial light confuses our brains into thinking it’s not time to go to bed yet. This makes it more difficult for us to go to bed at a reasonable time. Getting less than 7 hours a sleep per night has been proven to increase the risk of obesity, stroke, diabetes, mental distress, and heart disease.

Fact #2 – Make It a Point to Take a Vacation Every 3 Months. Americans now take four fewer vacation days per year. Americans averaged about three weeks of vacation before 2000. However, that number started to drop in 2001. We need to make sure we are taking time to recharge. If we don’t take vacations, we will eventually burn out and reduce our productivity.

Fact #3 – Take Advantage of All Your Vacation Days. More than half of Americans who work 50+ hours a week don’t use all of their vacation days. On top of that, due to technology we are always on. Even when we do take a day off, we spend a significant amount of that time still working. We could really take a lesson from our European friends. Culturally, vacations are healthy. Detaching from work is a requirement.

Fact #4 – Start Saving Now. More Americans than ever before are working past 65. Due to financial concerns, individuals are working later in life. It’s important to save for retirement as early in your career as possible.

Fact #5 – Don’t Check Your Phone at Meals or an Hour Before Bed. People who check email and social media often have higher overall stress levels than people who engage with tech less often. Only 7% of adults used social media in 2005 compared to 65% in 2015.

Fact #6 – Find Time to be Active and Eat Healthy. Americans are 53% more likely to be overweight if they have high job stress vs. low stress levels. Longer work days and multitasking make it more difficult to be healthy. Take time for yourself to work out a few times a week and make healthier food choices. Try meditation. Do things that can help you be a healthier you. It will improve your productivity at work as well.