By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TVBy Paula Ebben

BOSTON (CBS) – Surveys show three quarters of Americans say they suffer from stress. With that comes serious health consequences.

It is possible to manage the stress in your life. Laughter, exercise, and a little socialization can go a long way in helping you bring anxiety levels down.

“Stress can kill you,” said Dr. Andrew Weil, a specialist in integrative medicine. “It can make you sick. We can’t live without it, but you’ve got to learn methods to protect yourself from its harmful effects.”

The first challenge is to learn how to really relax.

“There’s some specific breathing techniques, most of them derived from yoga, that are very powerful methods that just a take a few seconds to do that really change stress levels in the body,” said Dr. Weil.

Simply make your breathing deeper, slower, and more regular. You can practice this at your desk, in the car, or whenever you think of it.

Another way to calm the mind and body is through daily meditation.

It can be hard to fit exercise into a busy schedule on a regular basis, but it is a great stress reliever. If you feel angry or upset, a brisk half hour walk, or other form of exercise can relieve tension and elevate your mood.

Other stress busters include getting a good night’s sleep and avoiding excessive use of caffeine which can make the symptoms of stress worse.

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