Stress is an inevitable part of most professional careers. This certainly holds true for those who attain CEO status. Standing at the top of a business’ organization chart can translate to being a magnet for problems and issues.

Relieving that stress is key, but the methods involved can vary in their effectiveness. Here’s a look at several ways to approach it, both in tackling problems in the business and in using calming techniques outside of it.

Acknowledge the need

CEOs obviously don’t climb to a lofty business perch all on their own. Successful leaders are boosted by significant help along the way. So it’s essential to have a strong, high-quality support team to share the burden and ease the stress. Jason M. Lemkin, CEO of EchoSign and partner at Storm Ventures, explains this in a story on Mashable.com.

“… You need help. Ideally, two or three others on the management team who can really help carry the workload, so that you don’t have to worry about multiple key functional areas, at least not at an execution level. If you don’t have true help carrying the load, recruit someone as soon as possible.”

Consider its value

Though a frazzled CEO at the height of a difficult issue might disagree, some believe that stress has benefits. Getting through turbulent times can provide business leaders with valuable lessons and even new skills as they move forward. Steve Tobak writes about this for Entrepreneur, saying there is “a common misconception about stress.”

“It’s not necessarily bad for you,” he says. “Not to get technical here, but physical and mental stress from competition and adversity can actually drive you to perform your best work. We often come up with our most inspired ideas and innovative solutions under stress. Some people thrive on it. Others, not so much.”

Family first

The work-life balance can be a struggle for anyone at any level of business. For CEOs, the responsibilities that go along with that title may cause some to feel the need to always be in work mode. That can be overwhelming, and a lack of relief can take its toll. As retired CEO Lee Ballentine says in the Mashable.com story, business leaders must stay connected to their home life.

“No one can do the top job without the support of the people they love,” he says. “Do what you must to stay connected with your spouse or partner, children and others in your life. There’s no better reason to reschedule a meeting or change your travel plans than Back To School Night.”

Take action

When faced with a difficult scenario, timing is an important element. For instance, it’s wise to evaluate all factors before reacting. Then again, it may not be something that can be put off for a later date. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos takes the tackle-it-now approach, as quoted in an infographic on Business Insider: “Stress primarily comes from not taking action over something that you can have some control over … I find as soon as I identify it, and make the first phone call, or send off the first email … it dramatically reduces any stress that might come from it.”

Start the day the right way

An organized CEO can have a head start in reducing stress. It may seem minor, but the simple act of having a clearly defined calendar, a tidy desk and a plan for the day can eliminate some potential stress. As Lewis Howes writes for Entrepreneur, this also helps to prevent bad habits.

“Mornings are often a race to get out the door,” he says. “If you’re like most people I know, you check your email before getting out of bed. Your mornings set the pace for the rest of your day. Turn off technology, slow down and re-evaluate your day. Write down goals you’re aiming to accomplish. Focus on your most important projects and write down all outstanding items on your ‘to-do’ list. This is key to staying organized. The less information you keep in your head, the more productive and creative you will be.”

Physical techniques

On high-stress days, a flurry of activity may be necessary, from aggressive conversations and negotiations to difficult meetings. Taking moments for healthy activities — when time allows, of course — could potentially provide some relief. In a story called “A CEO’s Guide From Distress to De-stress” for The Ultimate Travel Company, a deep-breathing exercise is recommended by “stress expert” Tiffany Cruikshank:

  1. “Sit up in your chair and close your eyes to begin.”
  2. “As you close your eyes, start to notice the natural pace of your breath. Sometimes you might notice the breath is choppy or short, sometimes it might feel more relaxed and longer paced. The quality is not important, but just start to become an observer to the process of the breath, the natural movement of the breath.”
  3. “Then start to count your inhale and exhale and see if you can make your exhale a little longer than the inhale. For example, if you inhale for a count of four, try to exhale for a count of five or six.”
  4. “Continue this for one or two minutes.”

The result, according to the story: “The exhalation helps to tap into the parasympathetic mode where you can be most efficient in your work and reduce the effects of stress on your body.”

Get inspired

Of all the tasks a business leader takes on in a day, reading for pleasure likely won’t rank all that high. That’s a primary reason why Howes says it’s an important step in managing stress, and it doesn’t need to be a book that relates to your business.

“Create time in your day to immerse yourself in a book that will allow you to generate more creativity when coping with stress,” he explains. “I recommend reading books that will give you insight into subjects you know little about. I’m not just referring to self-help books. … The smallest object, such as a book, can make the biggest impact when your mind is looking for motivation, creativity and resolutions.”

Learn how to say ‘no’

A steady stream of stress can provide an opportunity to increase the use of this all-important word. The CEO has a hefty list of responsibilities, but he or she cannot always be everything to everyone. If stress can be avoided — without it creating a lingering problem or passing it on to those who are ill equipped to handle it — then avoid it. Rieva Lesonsky writes about this for smallbizdaily.com.

“If a situation, employee, client or project is stressing you out beyond the usual amount, listen to your gut,” she writes. “Stress could be trying to tell you something. Maybe it’s time to fire the employee, dump that client or call a halt to the project that’s not going anywhere.”