is a subtle monster. It lurks around every corner, weighing us
down like mud caked to our boots. Most of the time, it's so sneaky
we don't even notice what's happening until we explode and let
loose on family, coworkers, other drivers, or even the poor dog.
I can't claim to have figured out a way to rid my life of stress. In
fact, I've pretty much concluded that it's a fact of life. But I have
developed a few techniques to help me put in hectic 12-to-14-hour days
without coming apart at the seams:
The single most effective thing I can do to get my day off to a
good start is to slip on my running shoes and pound two or
three miles of pavement while I watch the sun come up. Endurance
exercise—walking, running, bicycling, swimming, or,
even better, a combination—has consistently been shown
to be a great stress reliever. When I miss a session, I feel
You don't have to change your life. Just establish a few habits
such as always putting your car keys in the same place (a hook
to hang them on helps), picking out what you're going to wear the
night before, and setting up the coffee maker before you go to
bed. At work, divide materials by priority: now, today, tomorrow,
next week. Stress is knowing there's something you should have
done but not knowing what it was.
Procrastination is natural for most of us, but it lets stress build.
A big bill wallowing in your brief case is going to cause more
anxiety in the long run than if you face the music and just pay
it. Likewise, don't wait until you're on your way home to get gas.
Do it now, and you won't have to worry later about running out.
When you can feel the stress level heading sky high, stop
what you're doing, take four slow, deep breaths, and analyze
getting to you. If you don't understand the source of your stress,
you can't control it—and it will control you.
Time for Yourself
Each of us needs a little time occasionally for indulgence—a
hobby, reading, or a simple afternoon nap. It's not easy to find
the time among the responsibilities of work and home, but it's
something you and your partner can do for each other. The time
will be a good investment for everyone involved.
do something for love
Take your kids to the ballgame, take your spouse to dinner, volunteer
at a homeless shelter. Nothing puts stress into perspective more
quickly than love.
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