88°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Today’s puzzle: How to reduce stress

Since I am a writer, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I like words and word games. A favorite at my home is crossword puzzles and today we are celebrating because it has been proclaimed National Crossword Solvers Day.

According to the National Day Calendar, which keeps track of all such proclamations, the day was introduced last month by professional crossword puzzle writer Myles Mellor and that nearly 50 million people around the world consider themselves cruciverbalists.

Fittingly, the first crossword puzzle was introduced by a journalist, Arthur Wynne, in 1913. As World War I was on the verge of starting, he was looking for a fun way to take people’s minds off the pending battle.

Originally named “FUN’s Word-Cross Puzzle,” for the New York World newspaper’s FUN section, it also seems somewhat appropriate that an editor’s typo became a game changer, having mistakenly called the puzzle a “cross-word.”

My husband and I have been doing crossword puzzles for years. We keep a stack of them near the kitchen table and often do them when sharing a meal. The clues spark a variety of interesting conversations.

Doing crossword puzzles also helps us keep our minds sharp. Studies have shown that they are good at improving short-term memory skills, help delay dementia and boost problem-solving skills and a person’s IQ.

It’s also a great form of stress relief as we often laugh at ourselves for missing simple answers because we tried too hard to complicate the matter.

A prime example — and something that still causes us to giggle — is needing a four-letter word for “seniors dance.” Of course we spent days trying to figure out what dance it could be. None of the obvious dances — foxtrot, salsa, waltz, samba, cha cha — were four letters.

Then, one day, it dawned on us — prom.

Granted, we lived in a community devoted to retirees at the time and that heavily influenced our way of thinking.

Helping reduce stress is important, especially considering that I recently received an email noting that Nevada ranked the No. 1 most stressful state to live and work in.

The findings came from a March poll sponsored by the American Psychological Association in which people reported feeling stressed about inflation, health issues, lack of sleep and an increased reliance on unhealthy habits. Chocolate anyone?

Also considered was data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Right to Work Legal Defense and Education Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study looked at the average number of hours worked each week, state unemployment rates and employment laws, as well as average hourly and weekly earnings, income growth rate and people’s exercise habits.

I can definitely attest to the stress at work, though it could be attributed to my chosen profession rather than the state I live in. Deadlines are ever present and when the news happens, journalists jump into action.

Thankfully, crossword puzzles are extremely portable and I can pull one out whenever I need to take a break from the task at hand.

So, do you know a six-letter word for a way to relax?

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

THE LATEST
Stuff I learned from my dad

It is that time of year in Newspaper World when we are going back through issues from the past year trying to decide what, if anything, is worth submitting for the annual Nevada Press Foundation Awards.

State veterans’ memorial still in f lux

Last month I wrote about a possible move of the veterans’ memorial from its long-time location adjacent to the Grant Sawyer building to the veterans’ cemetery in Boulder City.

Not on my turf

In early April, the City Council heard a presentation by Lage Design about staff’s recommended option to remove 35% of the turf at the Boulder City Municipal Golf Course.

I-11 is NOT the Autobahn

When the I-11 highway opened almost six years ago, it alleviated much of the heavy traffic congestion through Boulder City. But this beautiful expanse of open road brought with it a sense that “opening up” and putting the pedal to the metal is OK. It’s not.

New law shapes golf course design

I like golf. While I was in college, I decided to take a class in golf – you could call it a “golf course” course. I figured it would be a great way to relax, enjoy nature, and (maybe) boost my grade point average at the same time! For a semester, I learned the basics: how to drive, chip, putt. It was enjoyable. Many of my classmates that semester had been golfing for years. They were better than me, but I was determined to get a good grade out of the class.

The art of communication in consciousness

For Memorial Day I am exploring human consciousness with you. Many misunderstandings have been fought over the lack of a mutual perspective among the parties involved. What better gift is there than one that assists in the art of communication? My work in formulating the discipline of Aquarian Theosophy has led me to the following understanding of humanities’ reality; consciousness is the basis of understanding.

Alumni events, marriage and a real Nazi

Ron’s column from a few weeks ago inspired me to tell a story about a weird event from my past. Mine is not as exciting as his in that there is no wrestler named Silo Sam. But there is at least one Nazi. And, no, not the current “I disagree with your politics so you are a Nazi” version. An actual card-carrying member of the party.

Las Vegas Veterans’ Memorial to Boulder City?

Veterans’ memorials can be found all over the Silver State. They are well deserved. They honor individuals who served the nation, and also commemorate battles and events regarding the many military anniversaries in Nevada.