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Professor says stress gets in the way of an authentic life

The holiday season is upon us, and for all the joys it brings, it also carries with it an extra dose of stress. There’s traveling during the busiest time of year, meeting family and social obligations, spending more on gifts and celebrations — all while maintaining everyday work and familial commitments.

But Corey Ciocchetti, an assistant professor in the Daniels College of Business, says holiday stress doesn’t have to be a big deal.

“Stress is stress is stress,” Ciocchetti says. 

He teaches about stress in his business ethics and legal studies courses andspeaks before audiences all over the U.S. His suggestions on minimizing stress comprise a chapter of his book, Real Rabbits, Chasing an Authentic Life (self-published, 2007).

He suggests that everyone “draw a line in the sand of your life.” On the left side, list major stressors like death in the family, losing a job, facing serious illness or the end of a relationship. On the right side, list minor or silly stressors.

Ridding your life of those “silly” stressors, the everyday kind, from annoyances at having to wait in long lines to holiday stressors, improves mental and physical well being Ciocchetti says.

Some de-stressing tips from Ciocchetti’s book include:

•    Make excellent decisions because poor decisions cause negative consequences and stress
•    Adopt a big-picture perspective 
•    Set clear priorities
•    Avoid pursuing too many activities
•    Avoid seeking perfection from yourself and others
•    Don’t worry too much about bad things that could happen
•    Be more flexible
•    Talk and be open to talking
•    Watch a sunrise and sunset
•    Go to bed earlier and take naps

Ciocchetti says minimizing stress has greatly improved his life.

“I’m so happy with my life. I wake up every morning content with where I am. I count my blessings — literally, and I have a balance in my life.”

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