These days, more and more people are finding themselves stretched pretty thin. With commitments to work and family requiring more time than ever before, it's no surprise the average man or woman's stress level is on the rise.
According to a recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, one-third of Americans are living with extreme stress, while nearly half of Americans feel their stress levels are on the rise. Couple that with the nation's recent economic struggles, and it's fair to conclude that Americans have a genuine problem with stress.
Dr. Cory Bank, a professor of Psychology at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and an expert on stress management, has studied human behavior for more than two decades, helping countless children, adolescents and adults cope with and overcome stress. Having competed in the Ironman USA Triathlon as well as several marathons, Dr. Bank is fully aware of the stress that comes with juggling multiple responsibilities and still performing at your peak.
In an effort to help others do the same, Dr. Bank founded StompStressAway.com, an online resource dedicated to helping individuals reduce stress levels. Some of Dr. Bank's most effective and cost-efficient recommendations include:
Laugh On a Daily Basis
In many instances, laughter truly is the best medicine. Like exercise, laughing releases endorphins and improves mood as a result. Laughing also enhances the immune system. What's more, with YouTube and other amenities just a mouse click away, adults and children alike can set up their own comedy break, complete with their favorites that are sure to induce a laugh or two.
Master the Power of Language
Our thoughts and language can influence our feelings which can influence our behavior. Do we label a situation a catastrophe when the restaurant does not have the appetizer that we wanted? Maybe it is a bit disappointing, but is it a catastrophe? A catastrophe is when you wake up in the morning and your right leg and upper row of teeth are missing and someone stole your car! Keep it in perspective.
Beat Stress Instantly with Exercise
Research continues to support the notion that a brisk 15 minute walk can reduce stress by raising serotonin levels and releasing endorphins, improving mood and lowering stress as a result. Exercise also improves aerobic capacity and increases energy levels. Even the busiest of adults will find 15 minutes per day is not much time to set aside.
Avoid Emotional Vampires
Emotional vampires are the people who suck the energy and enjoyment out of our lives. We all have them and they can certainly increase our levels of stress and jeopardize our health. By minimizing our time with them, we can decrease our stress levels dramatically while simultaneously enjoying life more.
Treat Yourself Once Daily
Many of us probably have no problems with people asking for our time. However, to do one thing a day for ourselves that we enjoy might requires us to invest some time initially until it becomes habitual. Try to aim for a few minutes a day and see if that can eventually extend to fifteen minutes daily or longer. Find activities that are convenient and enjoyable. Some examples might include talking to a friend, taking a warm bath, going for a little walk, writing, drawing, meditating, listening to music -- you get the idea. Fifteen minutes a day adds up to ninety hours a year! It takes very little time and is easy and enjoyable.