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Tips for managing and preventing stress

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For many adults, stress is an ever-present part of life. Though statistics on stress can be easily manipulated, it’s safe to assume many men and women experience significant stress, especially when the economy is struggling, as it has been over the last several years.

The prevalence of stress serves to highlight the emphasis men and women must place on reducing it and, whenever possible, preventing it. Though it might prove impossible to eliminate stress, learning to manage it can improve your quality of life significantly. Ask yourself the following questions.

What is the cause of my stress?

Stress can be caused by a number of things, but for many people, the main cause is work. In fact, a report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that 40% of workers find their job very or extremely stressful.

If work isn’t stressing you out, then it might help to maintain a stress journal, where you can track stressful incidents in the hopes of identifying just what it might be that’s stressing you out.

• How can I manage this stress?

Stress levels can worsen depending on how you respond to stressful incidents. For many people, effective stress management revolves around finding healthier ways to cope.

Unfortunately, it’s common to respond to stress in a host of negative ways. Overconsumption of alcohol, smoking, over- or undereating, withdrawing from friends and family and sleeping too much are common, yet very unhealthy, ways to respond to stress.

Managing and coping with stress involves finding solutions that benefit your emotional and physical health. If your solution to stress improves your overall health and involves something that makes you feel better both emotionally and physically, then you might begin to notice that the stress is no longer so overwhelming.

• Can I prevent stress?

Stress prevention can be difficult, though it’s not impossible. Since so many people cite work as their primary cause of stress, it might be impossible to eliminate stress entirely. But there are ways to prevent unnecessary stress from overtaking your life.

Recognize you have limits. High rates of unemployment have left many working men and women feeling as though they need to keep stretching themselves at work in order to keep their jobs and stay afloat. But you must learn to say "no" if stress has become overwhelming.

Don’t take on added responsibilities if your workload is already excessive.

Avoid the source of stress. When possible, avoid the source of your stress. For example, if you spend ample time each day sitting in a traffic jam, consider an alternate route to work or even public transportation.

Learn to manage your time more effectively. Many overstressed people find there simply isn’t enough time in the day to get things done. Planning ahead and not procrastinating can help turn a hectic, stressful schedule into one that’s far more manageable.

Make time to relax. Part of stress management and prevention is making time to relax and have fun. Spend time outdoors and don’t skip outings with family and friends. Use your allotted vacation time even if you just stay at home and relax. Taking time out for yourself can help you recharge and put you in a better position to cope with stress when it returns.

Living with stress is something with which men and women have grown accustomed. But employing some management and prevention strategies can help you avoid succumbing to stress and can improve your quality of life as well.

— Metro Creative

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