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Five Ways to Reduce Stress in Your Environment
Date:3/22/2010

PITTSBURGH, March 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Studies show that one in three people in the United States are living with extreme stress, with an estimated 67 percent of all doctor visits being stress related. The best way to reduce the stress in your life is to evaluate your environment. Reconsider these five areas and see how you can lessen the stress in your world.

Sounds

Too many background noises can contribute to the stress and tension of your day – in the office it might be, ringing phones, workplace chatter, or copy machines. At home it could be, television volume, computer games, or children playing. If the sounds at work or home are causing you stress, take control. Begin by turning down your own sounds and noises like cell phones, chatter and radios, and kindly ask others to do the same.  

Sights

Poor lighting can cause eye strain and increase fatigue. Better lighting can be an instant mood booster. Be sure your work environment has adequate lighting. Experiment with full spectrum bulbs at your desk or try working by a window, if possible. Also, try to get some daily exposure to the sun.

Surroundings

A cluttered, messy or disorganized work or home space can be stressful and distracting. Take the time to develop a system that works for you. Try to create a relaxing, inviting and pleasant vibe in both places. This will not only keep you calm, but will be welcoming and tranquil for any guests.

Systems

We all know that systems and technology can make life easier, but often offer too many interruptions, information overload and stressful accessibility. Make sure to give yourself a technology break on a regular basis, take a walk outside, chat with a friend or co-worker or practice some quiet meditation. Log off and disconnect whenever possible. Create a system or schedule for reading e-mail, responding to text messages and checking voicemail to eliminate overload and response time stress.

Space

Find a space at home, work or in between where you can breathe deeply, mediate, visualize or practice other stress management techniques. Spending time in nature, even looking at nature pictures, has been shown to reduce stress levels.

Highmark Offers Free Programs for Members to Reduce Stress

Discover Relaxation Within(SM) I is a lifestyle improvement program to help you manage everyday stress through practical relaxation techniques and innovative stress management strategies. Discover Relaxation Within(SM) II will help you to Refresh, Renew and Rediscover by taking stress management to the next level.

These and other health and wellness programs are available free to Highmark members and for a nominal fee, to non-Highmark members through local community centers and hospitals. For program locations, call 1-800-879-2217.

About the expert

Heidi Herald is an employee wellness consultant for Highmark. In this position, she is responsible for implementing companywide campaigns, as well as onsite wellness programming at branch and subsidiary locations.

She holds a master's degree in counseling psychology from Chatham College, and previously worked as a mental health therapist at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC. Her career experience is in helping individuals and groups manage behavior change.

About Highmark Inc.

As one of the leading health insurers in Pennsylvania, Highmark Inc.'s mission is to provide access to affordable, quality health care enabling individuals to live longer, healthier lives. Based in Pittsburgh, Highmark serves 4.8 million people through the company's health care benefits business. Highmark contributes millions of dollars to help keep quality health care programs affordable and to support community-based programs that work to improve people's health. Highmark exerts an enormous economic impact throughout Pennsylvania. A recent study states that Highmark's positive impact exceeded $2.5 billion. The company provides the resources to give its members a greater hand in their health.

Highmark Inc. is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.

SOURCE Highmark Inc.

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