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ChicagoRISMEDIA, November 2, 2009—Residents of Chicago say they have the least amount of balance in their lives, while people in Miami claim to have the most, according to a new survey, the Princess Cruises Life Balance Barometer. Rounding out the top-five list of most stressed out cities are Houston, Boston, Los Angeles and San Diego. Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Las Vegas and Dallas/Fort Worth ranked last on the list, purporting to have the most amount of life balance.

The national survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive reveals that even though Americans continue to strive for the ultimate life balance, which includes juggling work and personal priorities, approximately one-quarter of people in the U.S. actually have achieved this goal. However, the survey shows that there is a prevailing sense of hope, even in today’s tough economic times, with more than 53% of respondents saying they believe they will achieve life balance in the next five years.

“Princess Cruises launched this barometer because we believe we offer Americans the perfect escape from their busy, frenetic lives; a way for people to break away from their everyday routine to refresh and relax,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “Through the survey, we hoped to determine if people were feeling out of balance, and if so, what they need to get back on track. While it’s clear from the results that many people do not have life balance, we were pleased to see that one of the key enablers to living a balanced life was taking a vacation. In fact, we discovered there is a direct correlation between taking vacations and having a balanced life, as 64 percent of people who say they have attained life balance have taken a vacation in the last year.”

According to the Barometer, the top-five things Americans feel will help them achieve better life balance include realizing financial success, improving physical fitness, getting organized and taking more breaks and vacations. However, when it comes to doing what it takes to create more life balance, Americans aren’t taking their own advice, with one in four Americans not planning to take all their vacation days this year. Of those not planning to take all of their vacation days, 40% of those respondents cite work-related reasons.

Renowned stress expert and founder of The Stress Institute, Dr. Kathleen Hall, believes learning how to deal with stress is one of the most important things Americans can do to lead more balanced lives. “Life balance is all about having time for work, relationships, relaxation and fun, but when people are stressed out, it can be hard for them to focus on the priorities that will help get them back in balance,” said Dr. Hall. “Stress can manifest itself in many different forms, both mentally and physically, so it’s important to know how to identify our key stressors and learn to make positive choices that help manage stress every day. A crucial element to maintaining life balance is taking breaks and vacations. Research shows it’s important to allow yourself time to get away and disconnect from it all so that you can return to your everyday life rejuvenated and ready to deal with challenges head on.”

The Princess Cruises Life Balance Barometer uncovered issues and trends regarding life balance both nationally and in 25 cities. For more information, visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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