We need stress management for life. Stress in today’s tough economic environment is at an all-time high. Study after study has shown life events of all types (buying or selling a house, losing a job, being promoted, moving to a new location, surgery, etc.) are significant stressors that can lead to physical and psychological problems. Two-thirds of the visits to family physicians are for stress-related symptoms, and three-fourths of modern disease is related to stress.

Avoid being a victim of the debilitating affects of stress. Here are a few stress-busting strategies you can use.

1. Use auto-suggestion. An easy and effective technique for body relaxation involves auto-suggestion. Doctors and psychologists have been using this internal verbal instruction technique for centuries. You simply give yourself a command such as: “I am relaxed and at ease,” or “I am calm and relaxed.” Repeat the command until your body accepts it.

2. Maintain a regular exercise program. Numerous studies conclude that exercise results in measurable improvements in relieving depression and anxiety due to stress. Studies show physical activity is positively associated with good mental health, especially positive mood, general well-being and less stress overall. Exercising three to five times a week can serve as a buffer for stress. Try jogging, walking, racquetball, basketball, swimming, aerobics, dancing, weight training — whatever works for you.

“Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.”

– George Eliot

3. Distinguish what is trivial and what is important. To lead a tranquil life, learn to differentiate between trivial and important. The way you perceive and react to situations determines whether you’ll be stressed or relaxed. Use this question to get a handle on the difference: “Is this going to matter 10 years from now?”

4. Use the power of breath. Whenever you feel anxious or nervous, take a few deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. When breathing out, say to yourself, “three.” On the next out-breath, “two.” Continue to “one” and repeat the cycle. This will send a message to your brain and body that it’s time to relax and calm down.

5. View crisis as an opportunity to grow and expand. If you were to recall an experience you had in the past that was at the time a “crisis,” it is quite possible, in hindsight, that it was one of the best and most rewarding learning experiences you’ve had. Look for the lesson in all challenges.

6. Make time for recreation. The average human heart is beating only nine of 24 hours a day. For each beat there is a rest. Design each day, week, month and year with time to rest. Protect this time as though your life depended on it — because it does.

“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.”

– Dwight Eisenhower

7. Laugh often. Keep a book of jokes in your personal library, a video of your favorite slapstick comedy and an audiotape of your favorite comedian. Use these as tools to make you laugh when you feel your stress level rising. Laughter cleanses the system and needs to be part of your daily regime.

8. Rejoice in your successes. Keep a simple chart of successes for each week and update it daily. At the end of the week, review the chart to see how many successes you achieved. When you are feeling challenged, look back through these charts and remember how successful you truly are and have been. Go ahead. Use at least one of these proven stress-busting strategies to live a more relaxed, tranquil and fulfilled lifestyle.

9. Take a day off. Clear your schedule for the day. No work, no kids, no one but you. This will give you the chance to step away and get centered and rejuvenated. Go to the spa for a day, take a hike by yourself, read a book, go skiing, etc., whatever juices you. The point is to enjoy a day of solitude.

Go ahead. Use at least one of these proven stress-busting strategies to live a more relaxed, tranquil and fulfilled lifestyle.

You can use at least on of these habits right now. Choose one. Put into practice and feel the benefits.

Best of success to you!