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How to avoid stress ...
How to avoid stress

Perhaps the one good thing about stress, apart from the fact that it proves we are alive, is that there is plenty of advice out there on what to do about it.

Angela Mansi, senior lecturer in occupational psychology at the University of Westminster, and the Chartered Institute for Personnel & Development agree that the first major step is to recognise when you are stressed.

Ms Mansi says: 'A lot of people, especially managers, do not recognise it and get into a downward spiral.'

Skipping meals, loss of sense of humour, emotional outbursts and constant rushing are all symptoms, she says.

Find a coping mechanism which will help you relax, but do not just opt for the latest fad such as pilates - a form of exercise very popular in north London.

It might not suit you.

A CIPD spokeswoman said if the stress is coming from work talk to your boss.

'Most bosses will be more sympathetic than you expect, but it is good to have some practical solutions to suggest, how work can be rearranged.'

In recent years the threat of legal action has concentrated employers' minds and this may become more explicit with the publication of guidelines by the Health & Safety Commission during the summer.

For the less legalistically inclined there are myriad tips out there:

tidy your workspace, use aromatherapy, think positive, keep a diary to record patterns of stress levels. Despite the glamorous image of the big-drinking, chain-smoking City executive, avoid alcohol and cigarettes.

And try to remember the words of that wise old owl, General de Gaulle, who, let's face it, had rather more to worry about than even the average local government executive.

'The graveyards are filled with indispensable people,' he once observed.

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