Whether it stems from job pressure, money, health, or any other cause, stress always seems to slip its way into our lives. And when it does, it can act as a black cloud, following us around during the day.

Almost half of the people surveyed by the American Psychological Association say that stress has a negative impact on their personal and professional life on a regular basis. That negative stress manifests itself in the form of lethargy, headaches, a low immune system, or worse.

To ensure that stress doesn't weigh you down, I'm sharing the four unconventional ways I keep stress to a minimum.

1. Make meals easier.

We spend an average of about 1 hour and 42 minutes every day cooking and eating meals, which adds up to almost 12 hours per week. Imagine being about to reclaim half a day every week. 

By learning to streamline your meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) you'll end up saving incredible amounts of time in the long run that will allow you to relax rather than rush during the day. Here are some "meal hacks" that I use...

  • Sign up for a meal delivery service. You'll never have to waste time running to the grocery store or rush to find the right recipe. There are some meal services out there (such as Freshly) that even send you pre-made meals that just need to be warmed up prior to eating.
  • Try an instant smoothie for breakfast. One of my personal favorites is Daily Harvest. They delivery prepped and frozen fruit/veggie cups that just need to be blended before drinking.
  • Try intermittent fasting. If you're looking to save as much time as possible, cut out meals from your day almost entirely. It may sound crazy but in addition to the time saving benefits, research suggests that intermittent fasting can help reduce inflammation, keep the heart healthy, and even protect the brain against changes in memory.

2. Ride with a friend.

If you commute to work, the worst part of your day is might be driving there and back. High blood pressure, anxiety, worry, and fear are all linked to driving. It can be especially stressful during early mornings or evenings, when traffic is at its worse and people are tired. It's no wonder why so many of us have been on the giving or receiving end of road rage. 

Cut out the stress of driving every day by car pooling. What has been most popular for helping people save a little gas money on their commutes can actually be one of the best ways to remove the biggest stressor of the day.

3. Less coffee, more tea.

Coffee is what fuels the majority of our workforce. However, too much caffeine has some major negative side-effects. The number one of which is higher levels of stress and anxiety.

I'm not telling you to cut coffee and caffeine out of your life completely. Rather, replace it with something that's less likely to cause spikes in stress during the day. 

Try supplementing your second or third coffee of the day with a simple black tea. Many have almost a third of the caffeine that most coffees do, yet they provide much of the same stimulating effects.

4. Reduce the sounds around you.

Small noise distractions such as office chatter and slamming doors can lead to big stresses throughout your day. These little distractions can add up during the day--wasting a lot of your time and adding to your stress level.

To help keep noise distractions to a minimum so you can stay focused and stress free during the day, invest in sound dampening gadgets such as noise canceling headphones, a white noise machine, or even just ear plugs.