Stress score: 10
My stress: Every day as a chef, you feel like you’re running a Broadway show. You try to blow everybody away with a great dining experience, but you’re only as good as your last dish. When a bad review comes out, I don’t sleep. Everyone who works for me doesn’t want to see me. It’s like your heart is ripped out.
How I cope: When I just had Marcel’s, I could run the show. Then I opened Brasserie Beck, then Brabo and the Tasting Room and Mussel Bar. You learn that you can’t be two places at once. You have to surround yourself with the best people and be willing to let go of some control.
I like to fish, hunt, and ride my motorcycle—basically, anything that requires so much focus that you can’t think about anything else besides what you’re doing.
I do push-ups and sit-ups every morning, one for every year of my life—I’m 50. I’ve put myself on a diet, and so far I’ve lost 42 pounds. I feel like a new person.
Hanan Scrapper, director of Artemis House, a domestic-violence shelter in Fairfax County
Stress score: 10
My stress: This is a 34-bed facility, which isn’t very big for all of Fairfax County. We don’t have enough space for everybody. Sometimes I feel like I run out of options. I’m thinking, “Have we called this place? Have we called that place?”
How I cope: I tell myself to count my blessings and be grateful that I have a place to put my head at night and feel safe. I cry with clients sometimes. I don’t want to be desensitized.
I listen to music, and right now I’m reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It takes me away from what I do and makes me have this whole different life. I also watch stupid TV shows like The Real Housewives of D.C. and Jersey Shore.
Graham Gano, kicker for the Redskins
Stress score: 4
My stress: You could go out, miss a field goal, and if you are not mentally strong, then you are going to be messed up the whole game. But I don’t really get nervous; I’m totally relaxed out there.
How I cope: When I was in college, I worked with Trevor Moawad of the IMG Academies in Bradenton, Florida. He is a mental coach, and he works with the Florida State University football team. He trains you to be confident, to know you are good enough to do it. Confidence is the big thing.
Before the game, I will take myself through some mental preparations on the field, visualizing myself kicking the ball. And it’s not just right before I go on the field; when I am at home, I am thinking about what I have to do, too.
Candy Crowley, CNN chief political correspondent and anchor of State of the Union
Stress score: 16
My stress: Journalists are stress junkies. We are deadline people. I secretly love when we change things at the last minute and start all over again.
Flexibility is a must. It’s a wonder I have any friends left. You make plans and you can’t keep them. I feel like the most unreliable person in the world sometimes.
How I cope: I used to be able to feel stress in my body, but two things have helped: meditation and exercise. I tend not to get sick much anymore, and I rarely get headaches. One of the great things about meditation is that it helps you order your thoughts. It makes me more alert, less tired, a better thinker. I think of it as my self-preservation time.
I largely don’t read what people write about me or listen to what they say about me. It gets in my head. A friend once told me, “You already know who you are. This is written for people who don’t.
Robert Barnett, partner at the law firm Williams & Connolly and literary agent to Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and other prominent figures
Stress Score: 7
My stress: I don’t have all that much stress. I’ve come to an age and seniority where if something causes stress, I can generally find a way to get rid of it.
How I cope: I deal with stress in three ways. First, my treadmill—half hour to an hour every day. I’ve been doing it for years, and when I started, it was immediately a great benefit. Second, sleep. I love sleep. I’m a practitioner of sleep. I majored in sleep in law school. On weekends, I sometimes sleep until noon. Third, my grandson, Theodore “Teddy” Braver Penn. There is nothing that makes life happier, puts life more in perspective, and provides fun more than that little boy.
Steve Wunder, architect with RTKL Associates and religious leader for the 8,000 Buddhist practitioners in the Mid-Atlantic Soka Gakkai International-USA association
Stress score: 9
My stress: I’m an architect for a big international firm. I design hospitals and research facilities. I spend three to four nights a week with members of Soka Gakkai. And my father is struggling with cancer. I grind my teeth on occasion and have trouble falling asleep.
How I cope: Chanting is my remedy for everything. To sit and chant for 15 minutes can really cut through feeling overwhelmed, and it allows me to think clearly. There’s a mantra we use: Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. It signifies the fundamental life force in the universe.