I think I’ve been stressed for the last four years. Anytime I think about where I want to be financially and where I am right now, I feel stressed. It bothers me that studies show the Millennial generation is the most stressed-out generation. There are many articles about it. I often wonder what it would have been like to grow up in my parents generation. They think they understand how my generation and I feel, but they really have no clue. I know the Gen Xers and other generations have a lot of stress too, and I don’t know how they feel, but I imagine it’s quite different. I’ve found the best way to cope with my stressful life is just to focus on how I can survive the future of no job security and live the life I’ve always dreamed.
I’ve become better over the years at handling my stress levels through education, determination, and focusing on the positive things in my life. I know that would be nearly impossible if my husband and I were both unemployed, but weren’t not. We have a lot of positive things going for us, and the ability for me to start my own business is one of them. One thing I try to remind myself is that my stress comes from within, it’s not external factors that are causing me stress, it’s me reacting to those external factors. At this point, I usually take a deep breath and focus on what I need to do to remove the stress. Being stressed is not going to help make a difficult task any easier, or help me to focus on the situation in front of me.
Here are some of the strategies I’ve found helpful in handling stress:
- Create task lists of things to do or things to remember (This was helpful when I became overwhelmed at work — with too many things to do in a short period of time.)
- Meditation (This could be thinking about a relaxing time from my past, clearing my mind and just listening to my breathing in complete silence, or a quiet walk — it does help.)
- Write down your thoughts (There’s an article that shows it has amazing health benefits, and you don’t even have to write good, you can just scribble down three pages of what your feeling and you’ll feel better. This strategy works great for my husband.)
- Share your feelings (Of course! Some people get sick from keeping everything internalized and never vocalizing how they feel. My husband has been known to keep everything in, but over the years he’s become more vocal about it, and I can tell he feels better afterward.)
- Read motivational quotes, books, or articles (This has helped me a lot. I have become a more confident and positive person due to the 100’s of articles and quotes I have read, and the few amazing books that have transformed me into a new person.)
- Find one activity to look forward to everyday (For me this can simply be a delicious recipe, or baking cookies, a TV show, a walk, an arts/crafts hobby, playing with my cats, spending time with friends, or trying something new and different.)
- Reach toward your dreams (I knew that I needed to improve my confidence to live out my dreams. So, I found books and strategies to help me. I felt a sense of new confidence with each book I read.) Just think of one thing that you can do each day, week, or month, to put you a step closer to your dreams, and do it.
- Get a pet. (Enough said. You can read my last blog post on how it helps with stress.)
- Avoid negative people (Family or not, I’ve found I just need to stay away from people who put me in a negative state of mind. Since I’m highly sensitive, people who are negative have an even stronger effect of my emotions.)
- Laugh a lot and smile more (Life is more difficult that I ever expected, but I always try my best to find humor in life situations. I find ways to make my husband laugh, I tell jokes, and I act like a goofy kid once in awhile.)
Recently, my husband has been a bit stressed and my creative way of handling it was telling him that every time I heard him sigh, which was a lot, I better hear a “yippee” after it with some enthusiasm in it. He did, he thought it was pretty funny, it made it hard for him not to smile. Which studies have shown smiling makes you happier.
I’ve actually created a list of fun activities to do outside of my home, both indoor and outdoor activities, so that I constantly have variety in my life, and never fall into a trap of boredom, or displeasure with life. But, it gets exceptionally tricky in winter where it costs money to do most activities.
Oh and listening to relaxing music that helps too.
Wishing you a life with less stress,