Architects and structural engineers get paid big bucks to design buildings strong enough to withstand the damaging impact brought on by Mother Nature’s fury. Architects use building codes, blueprints and computer simulations to help them identify and mitigate stress-fatigue factors, which might contribute to the collapse of the building. Ironically, people, like buildings, are also susceptible to stress-fatigue factors and physical collapse brought on by the crippling effects derived from excessive fear, anxiety and worry.

The major behaviors associated with people under stress include aloofness, increased sadness, panic attacks, overly sarcastic humor and extremely negative self-talk. Stress occurs when a person is overwhelmed by his attempts to balance his physical, financial, personal, spiritual and career interests. The long-term effects of prolonged stress are cumulative and can be physically and mentally damaging over time. Stress manifests in the body as TMJ/teeth grinding, tension headaches, neck and shoulder pain and lower back pain. Here are several practical ideas that you can use to help you dramatically reduce your stress level and live a much more productive life:

  1. Get plenty of sleep.
  2. Eat balanced meals and avoid eating junk food.
  3. Drink plenty of water and avoid nicotine, excessive caffeine and other stimulants.
  4. Avoid drinking alcohol in excess.
  5. Learn to make decisions quickly and let go of the need to over-analyze.
  6. Express your feelings appropriately and don’t bottle up your emotions.
  7. Avoid trying for perfection and don’t sweat the small stuff.
  8. Maintain a positive mental attitude by utilizing affirmative “self-talk.”
  9. Stop worrying so much and look at situations more optimistically.
  10. Smile and laugh frequently throughout the day; don’t take yourself so seriously.
  11. Mix leisure with work: Take breaks and get away when you can.
  12. Make a point to spend quality time with your friends and family.
  13. Become more tolerant don’t be overly critical of yourself or others.
  14. Always be kind and gentle with yourself.
  15. Listen to upbeat music or watch your favorite movie.
  16. Exercise for cardiovascular fitness three to four times a week.
  17. Set written goals, plan your time and prioritize your activates.
  18. Keep a list of “things to do” and stay focused on short-term accomplishments.
  19. Get a massage or take a warm bath.
  20. Do something nice for someone else.