On February 25, 2011, Rita Schiano will be the guest speaker at the Community Business Associates meeting, where she'll talk about a costly workplace epidemic: stress. Schiano is a stress management and resilience-building coach and instructor, and the author of "Live A Flourishing Life," a self-exploration process book on how to decrease stress, build resilience, bounce back from adversity, and live the good life. The meeting begins at 7:15 a.m. and is held at the Oliver Wight Tavern at Old Sturbridge Village.

"In November 2010, the American Psychological Association's (APA) released the results of the 2010 Stress in America survey. The numbers were not good, " said Schiano. "More Americans continue to report high levels of stress and many report that their stress has increased over the past year. Seventy-five percent of those surveyed reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress; 70% reported that their stress was work-related."

Chronic stress has a long-term impact on one's physical and emotional health and is linked to all leading causes of death. "But, in addition to stress' toll on people, the economic impact is staggering, costing American business more than $300 billion dollars a year due to absenteeism, increased health care costs, and lost productivity."

For the past three years Schiano has been busy, conducting stress management programs funded by the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) at area organizations and municipalities throughout the Commonwealth. The DIA work is contracted by the Wilmington-based company WorkTerrain. Schiano has broadened her focus to include private sector workshops and one-on-one coaching.

Last summer, Schiano began teaching a Stress Management course for the Bay Path College One-Day-A-Week Saturday program. It was during this course that she wrote Live A Flourishing Life, now used in the classroom. "The book includes numerous exercises, quizzes, and personal exploration questionnaires to help you dig deep into your life story to uncover and discover long-standing attitudes and habits that influence your life."

"There is no difference between work stress and home life. Stress is stress," said Schiano. "The key is to teach people how to manage their responses, no matter what is going on around them, and how to handle adversity, discouragement, and rejection " major causes of stress for sales and customer service personnel."

To learn more about Live A Flourishing Life©, visit Rita Schiano's website, www.ritaschiano.com.

Stress: A Costly Workplace Epidemic