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Summarize the passage about measures to reduce stress in about 100 words.

 
Taking Stress in Stride

For many years, stress was considered an imaginary complaint that lazy employees would use as an excuse for skipping work. Now, stress has finally made its way into medical books -- and into company accounts too. More and more firms are realizing the effect that stress-related illnesses are having on their bottom line.

The causes of stress are manifold. Just getting to work on time may be a major cause. At the workplace, stress can be caused by not having enough to do, not facing sufficient challenges or simply being in a job that does not suit the person. At the other end of the scale is overwork and job insecurity. There may also be ergonomic reasons for stress such as cramped working conditions, a faulty chair, a desk at the wrong height, a smoky office or defective air-conditioning.

Stress manifests itself in many ways. The most common symptoms are headaches, backaches, shortness of breath, skin disorders, heart palpitations, gastric problems and sleeping disorders. There is also poor concentration, poor memory and loss of self-confidence. Other major health problems such as depression, repetitive strain injury and heart problems may follow these symptoms.

All these symptoms give rise to inefficient work practices, increased medical leave and consequently loss of productivity. Companies are finally beginning to take notice and are starting to invest in their employees' health as a natural cost of doing business.

Companies are taking the necessary measures to overcome stress-related problems with the hope that there will be heightened efficiency at the workplace and lower absenteeism. But at the end of the day it is up to the individual.

The art of stress management is not something that can be picked up overnight. It is something that an individual has to perfect and improve on throughout his lifetime. The key is 'healthy body, healthy mind'.

Diet should be kept in check with smoking and drinking under control. Consider investing in a home gym, which can be set up at a reasonable cost consisting of basic equipment such as an exercise bench, a pair of dumb-bells and an exercise bike.

Massage is another tried and tested form of physical relaxation, guaranteed to reduce both mental and physical stress levels. The two most popular forms of massages are the Japanese and Swedish massages. A Japanese Shiatsu massage focuses on specific points of the body where energy is blocked, while the Swedish massage involves stroking with oils to stimulate blood circulation. A massage does not take long and it is not expensive. The different types of massages and aromatherapy techniques have different effects with some for relaxation and some for stimulation; all guaranteed to make you feel invigorated or enlivened after a hard day.

Another way of reducing stress is the century-old and hugely popular practice of yoga. A beginner taking up yoga may find the posture and breathing exercises beneficial. But yoga goes way beyond that as it deals with the inner organism ( the mind, the respiratory and digestive organs ) -- inner harmony first -- and when the inner organism is working properly, then physical fitness can be achieved.

In stress management, the most important thing is to recognize the symptoms of stress early and to act before they become something serious.

 
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Answer
 
Steps are taken by companies to reduce stress-related problems so that there is an increase in workplace efficiency and lower absenteeism. However, stress management is up to the individual and can be perfected through practice. Stress-related problems can be reduced through proper diet and controlling smoking and drinking. In addition, massage can help to reduce stress. A beginner in yoga may also find it helpful as it deals with inner harmony to achieve physical fitness. The most important factor in stress management is to recognize the symptoms early and to deal with them before it is too late. (99 words)
     
bottom line   a company's net earnings
     
manifold   many and of several different parts
     
 
 

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