Stressed out? You’re not alone

If you’ve felt your blood pressure rising during a recent board meeting or business negotiation, you’re not alone.

According to the American Institute of Stress, Americans are more stressed than ever before. Forty-three percent of adults suffer adverse health effects as a result, and 75 to 90 percent of adult visits to primary care physicians are due to stress-related problems.

Stress also causes approximately 1 million employees to be absent on any given workday, and ultimately is responsible for nearly 50 percent of employee burnout and 40 percent of worker turnover.

Stress, unfortunately, has become an inescapable part of modern life. As the line between the business day and personal time has blurred, it’s become increasingly difficult to contain stress and stay healthy. Add technology — which allows people to be on call during leisure time via cell phones, pagers and e-mail — and it’s no wonder that stress levels are higher than ever before.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are a variety of stress management techniques that can be easily incorporated into even the busiest daily routine. Here are a few worth trying:

Go for a walk. Walk on the beach, in the mountains or around your neighborhood. Just 20 minutes a day can work wonders, both physically and mentally. It’s not only exercise; the quiet time also allows you to wind down from all the work on your mind.

Bring the outdoors indoors. Decorate your home with nature-inspired décor to help you relax and soothe the soul. Soft colors will do wonders for your eyes and mind.

Take up an enjoyable hobby. Whether it’s writing, painting, learning to play an instrument or landscaping, choose something that will force you to calm down and enjoy the moment.

Try tai chi, meditation or prayer. By focusing within, you’ll acquire a proper perspective and better control over the anxiety-riddled external world. This will also help you focus better in the workplace.

Hug your spouse. Kiss your children. Pet your dog or cat. Laugh out loud. Be playful, spontaneous and have fun. The more you relax, the less stress you’ll feel. Believe it!

And if none of that works, you can always toss out your cell phone, pager or laptop.

Dustin Klein ([email protected]) is editor of SBN. He knows a thing or two about fighting stress.