About This Book

Inspiring Chicken Soup for the Soul stories and accessible leading-edge medical information from Dr. Jeff Brown of Harvard Medical School. We all have stress in our lives. What differentiates us is how we handle it. The combination of these stories, from people who have learned how to manage stress, and Dr. Brown's practical advice, will have you wondering what you were worried about! Who knew there were so many easy ways to manage your stress?

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Five Tips for Reducing the Stress in Your Life

Inspired by Chicken Soup for the Soul: Say Goodbye to Stress

By Dr. Jeff Brown of Harvard Medical School with Liz Neporent

A recent survey by the National Health Interview found that 75 percent of the people surveyed feel stressed during any given two-week period. The link between stress and illness is well documented in medical circles, and while stress can be a part of everyday life, we can change how we deal with it. In Chicken Soup for the Soul: Say Goodbye to Stress, leading psychologist Dr. Jeff Brown provides easy-to-implement practical tips to help you reduce the stress in your everyday life. This advice is augmented by several Chicken Soup for the Soul stories in each chapter of the book. Consider these tips the next time your anxiety levels start to rise.

1. De-stress your lifestyle with sleep, exercise and the right foods. Dr. Brown points out that stress often leads us to eat or drink more or engage in other destructive behaviors. Persistent sleep problems can diminish the capability to handle stress, affecting memory and mental awareness. Regular exercise, diet and sleep can be effective stress busters. "It really doesn’t matter why exercise beats stress since it’s crystal clear it does," Dr. Brown writes. In a related story in the book, we hear from Lisa McManus Lange, who learned to deal with the weekly absence of her husband, due to his job, by turning to her early morning walks to refocus and manage her life.

2. Stop being your own worst enemy. With all the information devices we use, we’ve become addicted to multitasking, which studies indicate is not effective when it comes to completing tasks. One way to break the habit is through single-tasking and prioritizing what you need to do each day. Learning to say "no" more often and deciding whether or not a commitment is worth your time can help make you a happier person in the long run. In her story, Sarah Jo Smith explains that she called herself the "Multitask Queen" until high blood pressure and anemia forced her to learn to delegate tasks and enjoy what she was missing in her life.

3. Reduce stress in the workplace. Stress in the workplace is not new, but today’s workforce seems to be more stressed than ever, with more work per person and the threat of unemployment. "You have control over your own actions and words, so change is within your reach," Dr. Brown says. Learning to be a team-builder, developing strong communication skills and recognizing the strengths of your team can create a positive atmosphere. In her story about a large corporate layoff, and the closing of the store where she worked, Nina Schatzkamer Miller helped her fellow employees cope by photographing her coworkers and putting them into a keepsake so they could remember what was important to them for so long.

4. Reduce stress at home. A Stress in America survey found more than half of Americans worry about family-related stress issues. Raising kids, marital relationships and paying bills keep us up at night and lead to further anxiety. According to Dr. Brown, "One of the best ways to improve family dynamics is by taking a long hard look at yourself." Cultivating your family relationships through thoughtful gestures or spending more time together can remind us of the importance of family in our lives. When Priscilla Dann-Courtney recognized her husband’s back pain was related to the pressure he put on himself, she suggested they simplify their lives and work less. They moved to a smaller house, which allowed them to reduce their work hours and incorporate yoga into their daily lives.

5. Manage your finances sensibly. Can money really buy us happiness? Over 75 percent of Americans worry about money for one reason or another. "This fact is unfortunate because evidence shows a clear link between poor money management skills and financial stress," Dr. Brown says. Educating yourself on your finances, finding a class or enlisting a partner can help lighten the financial stress. Take Anna Koopman, whose financial worries had kept her awake at night. Once she discussed her fears with her husband and realized they were a team, she started to sleep better and find joy in her life.

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