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As a reflection of our times, I was shocked to read that 90 % of those who went for counselling in my city of Bangalore were not middle-aged but less than 30 years old! Contributory factors include poor life style management, work pressures, irregular work hours and its fallout, social pressures to conform to a particular life style and family/domestic discord.We live in very challenging times.
The rewards for success are unprecedentedly high. Many have made it good, working hard to cash in on a booming economy. Sure, they have earned their success but for many there has been a price to pay.I read in November 2007 that nearly 1 out of 3 adults in the U.S report “extreme stress” says a new survey from the American Psychological Association .
Most participants — 82% — say they manage their stress well. But they also admit that stress causes problems with their physical and mental health, relationships, and work.
More than three out of four participants — 77% — said that within the previous month, they had had physical problems due to stress. Those problems included fatigue, headache, upset stomach, muscle tension, change in appetite, teeth grinding, change in sex drive, and feeling dizzy.Almost as many participants — 73% — reported stress-related psychological symptoms in the previous month, including irritability, anger, nervousness, lack of energy, and feeling on the verge of tears.No prizes for guessing the top 5 stressors !

  • Work: 74%
  • Money: 73%
  • Workload: 66%
  • Children: 64%
  • Family responsibilities: 60%

I have no authentic figures to go by but I am sure the results of a survey in Bangalore would yield pretty much the same results!
You would do well to practice these stress management tips from The American Psychological Association :

  • Understand how you experience stress. Everyone is different. How does stress affect you?
  • Identify your sources of stress. What events or situations stress you out?
  • Learn your own stress signals. For instance, you might get irritable, lose energy, have trouble concentrating, get headaches, or feel muscle tension when you’re stressed.
  • Recognize how you deal with stress. Are you making unhealthy choices because of stress?
  • Find healthy ways to manage stress. Examples include exercise, meditation, or talking things out with friends or family.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat right, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, and engage in regular physical activity.
  • Reach out for support. Accept help from supportive friends and family. If you continue to feel overwhelmed by stress, you may want to talk to a psychologist for pointers on managing stress and changing unhealthy behaviors.

I liked the way stress was described as an unhealthy response to the pressures of life. Stress may be a part of life but don’t make it a way of life!

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This is the 77 th of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.

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