According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, stress is defined in the following ways: a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, or in some other area; something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety; or physical force or pressure.

As I was relaxing by the pool during our family vacation last week, I thought about how most of us are in a constant state of stress. If only we could relax by a pool everyday, soak up the sun and leave the worries of the world behind, we would not only feel better but look better as well.

Indeed, a Harris Interactive poll conducted for the American Psychological Association found that stress levels in America are at an all-time high. Whether it’s the constant demands of work, family, chronic illnesses, financial trouble, or anything else that takes up space rent free in your mind, each of these issues has lasting effects.

In addition, chronic stress also has a negative effect on our beauty. And if that’s not enough this common condition has been linked to every major illness in the United States, such as heart disease, cancer and depression. When stress keeps our bodies in a tense mode over an extended period of time this can lead to hair loss, teeth grinding, skin conditions, and fatigue.

Often, those with elevated levels of mental tension become so overwhelmed by stress that they may become unmotivated when it comes to their normal beauty regimen. But this is one of the worst things that can happen. If being a beautician has taught me anything it’s taught me that when people look good they feel good. This means that even though you may not be motivated to do your hair and makeup, most likely you’ll feel so much better about yourself after you beautify your appearance. The bonus is that these simple actions reduce stress.

That said, here are a few tips to help you release tension and keep your beauty at its best.

Tip #1: Remove unnecessary stress triggers.
This one is kinda obvious, but taking that first step is hard at times. If you find yourself always in the middle of someone else’s drama, take YOU out of the equation. Each of us has enough to deal with on our own. If we let others pull us into their taxing situations, this only adds to our own baggage.

Tip #2: Create a chill ritual.
Whether it’s a quick workout after work, or a massage at the end of each week, take time out for yourself to do something just for you. This offers immediate rejuvenation benefits.

Tip #3 Drink in the sunshine, sunshine, sunshine.
Exposure to natural light can elevate Vitamin D levels and increase the body’s levels of mood-boosting serotonin. Think about this no-brainer: Don’t you tend to have more fun doing outside activities when there’s glorious sunshine all around?

Tip #4 Sneak away for a two-hour escape.
Take some time to watch a lighthearted movie you’ve been wanting to catch, or read a funny novel. Escaping through media and forgetting your troubles for a while is sometimes just what we need to regroup. (One caution: Stay away from thrillers to avoid feeling anxious after.)

Tip #5 Beautification is essential.
Do your makeup and stop by your local salon to get a professional to do a quick wash and style even if you have no where to go. (I recommend an Eufora Experience salon in your area. Just click here to find a salon near you.) Once you are looking your best, you will feel better and instantly relax.

In the words of the great Richard Carlson, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff.”