Aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen may knock out a temporary headache. But if tension, chemical imbalances, disruption in your life and other problems cause you frequent headaches, a simple change in lifestyle plays a proactive role in avoiding unnecessary pain.

Repeated headaches are probably caused by a number of things

My Head Is Splitting

A cup of coffee is often cited as a remedy for a headache. Caffeine may provide moderate pain relief, but excess intake of caffeine can cause headaches. If you’re drinking three or more cups a day and find you suffer from regular headaches, try cutting down on the coffee or eventually eliminating it. Start drinking decaffeinated coffee or herbal teas. Watch out for caffeine in sodas, chocolate and even some medications if you’re searching for a headache culprit.

Regular physical activity can prevent the onset of headaches. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that exercise helps block pain signals to the brain. Try easy exercises, such as walking or biking, for 20 to 30 minutes a day on most days of the week. You can work your way up to moderate or vigorous workouts and find you’re no longer stricken by unexpected headaches.

Stress management plays a key role in reducing headaches because stress often causes the problem. Managing stress may seem difficult, but it’s just a matter of managing your time better. Schedule your work and chores and do no more or less than you have to. The job doesn’t necessarily get done by working faster — only by working better and more efficiently. Take breaks when you feel tired or stressed.

Whenever you feel overwhelmed by problems at work or issues at home, find a quiet place to sit or lie down. This is a good time to try meditation. Close your eyes for a few minutes and picture yourself in a calm, peaceful environment, such as a beach or near a lake. Imagine you can hear the sounds and smell the surroundings as if you are actually there. Meditation and yoga instructors often recommend this method of visualization to relax your body and clear your mind.

Avoid eating in a hurry or on the go. Even during stressful periods, find the time to enjoy your meals in a calm environment without conflicts that trigger or worsen headaches. Eat small, frequent meals during the day rather than heavy lunches or dinners. Smaller meals digest quickly and avoid digestive problems than can result in headaches later on. Drink plenty of water throughout day to avoid dehydration. Even mild dehydration can lead to headaches.