Relax – A Five Step Plan to Reduce Stress – Tips & exercises for stress, time management, organizational skills, relaxation & 
breathing techniques are highlighted in this article – Includes job stress costs & best strategy for coping with anxiety.

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Conquering Stress by KRS EdstromRelax: Here's a five-step plan
to help reduce stress

Best Strategy: Fight anxiety early, before you end up
in the middle of a full-blown attack.


Stressed out, with too much to do?

Communication experts tell us we have 60,000 thoughts a day, and 90 percent of them are the same ones we had yesterday. Does that give you a slight clue as to how hard it is to banish thoughts about how stressed and time-crunched you are?

wpe135.jpg (7083 bytes)Job stress costs American industry more than $200 billion a year in absenteeism, lost productivity, accidents and medical insurance. Of all industrial accidents, 60 percent to 80 percent are due to stress incurred by workers, reports KRS Edstrom, author of Conquering Stress.

There are five steps to conquering stress. But you have to attack stress early, when it is coming on, rather than when you are in the middle of a full-blown stress attack.

Job stress costs American industry more than $200 billion a year in absenteeism, lost productivity, accidents and medical insurance.

Reduce StressThe first step is psychological: Acknowledge that you are stressed. This seems elementary, but many stress conditions proliferate because we erroneously tell ourselves that we can handle the stress. Next, define the source of your stress. Find a solution or reach a temporary resolution about coping with the stress, advises Edstrom. Engage yourself in some self-dialogue, or talk to a friend or counselor.

wpe137.jpg (7205 bytes)The second step in stress management is logistical. This is where time and organizational skills come in. Try to take control of the undone tasks that are driving you crazy. You may have to bite the bullet and pay someone to do tasks you could do if you had the time, but consider it money well-spent: It's reducing your stress level.

The third stress-reducer is physical. That means, according to Edstrom, exercise, stretch, and eat and drink healthful, non-aggravating things.

The fourth step is emotional. The stress has to go somewhere (hopefully, to someone else's desk). Any good stress management book has stress-reducing exercises.

wpe138.jpg (2879 bytes)Learn a few, and pick your favorites. Individual tastes vary -- visualizing a warm, sandy beach; muscle relaxation exercises; exercises that focus on breathing; or tuning into a relaxation audios. You may prefer extremely physical stress-reducers such as pillow-punching, karate-style, air lunges and kicks. Whatever you choose, get some relaxation exercise into your repertoire.

The fifth stress reducer is energy. Edstrom suggests: Feel exactly where the negative sensations of stress are located in your body. Circle it with an imaginary black marker. Now explore it to death.

Mary E. Corcoran is a time-management and organizational consultant in Kansas City.

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