You’re going to die before you want to, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Wait, stop the presses — I’ve slapped an injunction on that notion!

That is only true if you keep letting stress bind you with manacles each day. Stress can lead to alcohol and drug abuse, in addition to anxiety and depression. It is also responsible for as much as 70 percent of all illnesses. Enough already! I found you in time, and I can get you to greener pastures.

Most stress is caused by inadequate time management. Time in a day is limited, and you need to decide what you will accomplish each day. Write it all down on paper. You can’t do everything, so you will need to leave some of the items on the editing floor. There’s your graduate school coursework, the crime-scene TV shows, the exercise routine, the workday and plenty of other things vying for your attention. Prioritize, and then stick to your manageable schedule like a dutiful liege.

When you try to squeeze 48 hours into a day, the first item up for auction is your sleep. The big cats in Africa get about 20 hours of sleep each day. You are chasing taxicabs and not zebras, so you can get by on much less than that. Your 40 winks only need to be about seven to eight hours daily.

Here are some suggestions for pleasant dreams:
1) Go to bed at the same time each night.
2) Don’t exercise right before bedtime.
3) Avoid eating meals shortly before lights out. A simple snack is fine.
4) Don’t watch TV in the bedroom.
5) Sleep in a cooler than normal room.
6) Avoid excessive alcohol. It causes restless sleep.
Don’t forget to have some fun in life. It really does not matter that you saved millions of dollars and can retire at 50 if you spent all those years with your nose to the grindstone. The accumulation of stress from those years of abundant toil might just give you a one-way ticket to your cemetery plot. Recreation and leisure should be important components of your daily schedule. Find time to read a Harry Potter book or to run around in a rainstorm. Have fun while you are here!

Several relaxation techniques can help you show stress to the nearest exit. Some methods for outstanding relief are the quick fix, prayer, and positive thinking. The quick fix means taking a five-minute timeout from the rat race. Go to a quiet spot, loosen your clothing, remove your shoes, and shut your eyes. Inhale deeply for about five seconds and then exhale slowly for about 10 seconds. Repeat this several times. Now picture something pleasant like a lake, a cloud, or a waterfall. Keep relaxing and breathe deeply. After five minutes, stretch briefly and head back to the real world with renewed vigor.

The next technique is prayer. Studies have indicated that prayer can decrease blood pressure and can be a tremendous source of comfort. Prayer can provide confidence to function more effectively and thus reduce stress from your difficulties of life. Try embracing the power of prayer with any religion you choose.

Finally there is positive thinking. Do whatever it takes to create a positive mood when you have excessive stress. You do not want to dwell on any negative feelings. Always picture the positive side of life. Those who do are those who prosper.

You use a lot of six-letter words in your life everyday; don’t let stress be one of them.

This health and fitness article is brought to you by that guy with fluffy finesse and peaceful panache. That guy of relaxed rigor is Ron Blake and he can be happily heard at

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