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Ask Dan
My job is extremely stressful. What are some ways to cope with the stress?
According to the American Psychological Association, 69 percent of people find work to be a significant source of stress in their lives. It's a huge problem with no quick solution, but there are some steps you can take to lessen its toll on your health.

First, start each day with a period of quiet reflection with no outside distractions allowed. Upon awakening, listen to some relaxing music, perhaps, or read an inspirational passage. If you have time, exercise or meditate. Second, when you arrive at work, create a list of priority items you need to get done that day. The more progress you make on your list, the less stress you'll feel.

Third, use lunchtime to refuel your soul as much as your stomach. Depending on how much time you have, engage in some sort of physical exercise, such as yoga, a brisk walk, or some stretching. Later in the afternoon, take a short break. A few moments of quiet time, or perhaps just listening to a favorite song, can ease your mind considerably.

Finally, before you leave work for the day, check that to-do list one more time. Allow a few moments to take pride in whatever portion of it you accomplished, and make a mental plan for what you want to accomplish tomorrow. By following these steps regularly, you should feel less like a hamster on a wheel, and more like a human with a life.

Dan Lumpkin, organizational psychologist, is the president of management-consulting company Lumpkin & Associates in Fairhope, AL. Need answers? Email your career-related questions to askdan@exhibitormagazine.com.
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