9 pictures to help you relax on Stress Awareness Day

Stressed? Who isn’t, really.

Money, job performance, health and relationships: these are some of the leading causes of stress in the United States, but that feeling doesn’t need to define your day.

In fact, stress is considered a natural and necessary part of the balance of life, according to Dr. Daniel Kirsch, neurobiologist and president of The American Institute of Stress.

“People should become aware of the concept of stress. It’s not a mental health diagnosis. Stress is a normal pattern in life and we can learn to control it,” Kirsch said. “To live a happy life, you need to be aware that your body is programmed like this, and take measures to deal with it.”

Even simple acts like going for a walk, eating a nutritious meal or taking a warm bath can help people reduce stress.

Certain images can also have a calming effect, though Kirsch added that what someone finds relaxing is a matter of individual preference. While some may find natural or architectural fractals stress-inducing, there is research that suggests certain types of these patterns can reduce stress.

“People really see things differently,” Kirsch said. “People can pick whatever they like in terms of what relaxes them. It’s whatever affects them.”

In honor of National Stress Awareness Day Tuesday, take a deep, calming breath and scroll through these relaxing pictures.

Lauren Cook