We are a world of stress. We even have products designed specifically for helping us dealing with stress, like stress balls. That’s how serious it is. But there are lots of ways to recharge a stressed brain that will have more permanent effects than a ball that you squeeze to distract you for a few moments. Here are 10 ways to help control your inner Hulk:

Kicking back on a hammock in Puerto Viejo
Kicking back on a hammock in Puerto Viejo

1.) Take a vacation

Seems like it could cause more stress, right, because of the financial burden and all the planning? Any stress it will cause, it will take away tenfold once you are lying on a white sand beach or careening into a cave.

Relaxing Yoga class on Montezuma beach
Relaxing Yoga class on Montezuma beach

2.) Try something new

Get a new hairstyle, try an exotic dish, join a roller derby team. Whatever you have never done before, do it now. You’ll activate your brain and keep it too busy to focus on stress.

Guanacaste Escape Adventure Tour
7 Days / 6 Nights
Starting at $779 per person

3.) Get a new Routine

Something as simple as taking a new route home from work can relieve your brain of stress-inducing thoughts. If you’re the “go big or go home” type, maybe you can try moving to a new place, or a new country. I hear that Costa Rica is beautiful.

4.) Reconnect with old friends

Whether those friends are from high school or nice people that you met during your last vacation (and took awkward photos with), reconnecting with these people can remind you of a more carefree time and put good memories in the forefront of your thoughts. And come on, you’re also probably dying to know who went bald.

5.) Play!

Hey, now that you've reconnected with people from your youth, why not ACT like a youth? Watch cartoons, built a fort and pretend you’re camping in a cloud forest, or just get really, really, pee-your-pants-a-little excited about something. Nothing to be embarrassed about here.

Hiker sitting on rock in river at Corcovado National Park
Hiker sitting on rock in river at Corcovado National Park

6.) Bee in nature

(See what I did there?) Get. Out. Outside that is. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping…unless you’re in the Midwest in winter…then stay inside.

7.) Sleep more

This is a great compromise for the Midwesterners. Just think of it as winter hibernation. Sleep will help your brain shut down and cool off, and really just keep you from being a big old cranky pants to everyone around you.

Canyoning near La Fortuna & Arenal Volcano
Canyoning near La Fortuna & Arenal Volcano

8.) Exercise

After all that hibernating, or just sitting at a desk all day, your body needs to break free. Take yoga classes or go hiking. All that exercise will help you get in shape for your relaxing vacation, and it will come full circle and wear you out enough that you’re ready for hibernation again. What a wonderful world.

Learn Spanish at the universities in San Jose
Learn Spanish at the universities in San Jose

9.) Feed your brain

Think of your brain as a zombie. It is constantly looking for more food. And the hungrier it is, the slower it is and the less it can compute and resolve problems. I don’t recommend feeding zombies, but I do recommend brain food in the form of learning to speak Spanish or cook a new cuisine.

10.) Follow your nose!

OK, so you’re not Tucan Sam, but pleasant scents can actually help you de-stress. Find a way to fill your nose with that whatever scent it is that smells good to you. Whether you light enough candles for your house to be a shrine or you visit a restaurant with its own smell, get the job done and feel your brain go into turbo recharge mode.

So now you know how to carry on in life so that even if you’ve got 99 problems, stress won’t be one.