People are more stressed now than ever before. You listen to the news on the TV or radio and it would seem the world is coming to an end. Between elections, political investigations, global pandemics, economic downturns, high unemployment, protests, inequality, and many other things, you can easily get depressed and start losing faith about your future. Our normal everyday lives have been significantly impacted and people are struggling to cope. According to the American Institute of Stress, the top five stressors in people’s lives are:
- Relationships with family, friends, and loved ones (divorce, breakups, arguments)
- Death of people close to you
- Relocation (moving to new town, setting up a new home, schools for kids, etc)
- Career (new job, termination, problems at work, bad boss)
- Finances (loss of income, debt, stock market fluctuations)
Everyone is experiencing these stressors on a much higher scale than before. People are scared, nervous, anxious, and are losing sleep, which is affecting their health and overall wellbeing. People have lost hope in many ways. So, what do we do? Where do we go? How do we overcome and move forward?
The first thing I recommend people do is not give in to everything you see, or hear, on the news and in social media. Despite what may be going on in society, we live in the greatest country in the world. I have been all over the globe and will definitively tell you there is no other country like America. We have more freedoms, liberties, and opportunities to fulfill your wildest dreams than anywhere else on the planet. Stay positive and true to the values and principles for which our country was founded, continue to understand each other, and search for common ground. You will find we all have more in common than we have differences, and when we come together with respect and dignity for each other, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.
The second piece of advice is that everything in life is temporary. Life will always be full of challenges. In 2001, it was about terrorism (9/11). In 2008, it was about a recession. Today, the top of mind issues are coronavirus, unrest, and restoring the economy. There will always be something going on. The real challenge will be how we respond, both individually and collectively.
Let’s face it, we live in a fast-moving world and is continuing to move faster as time goes on. To help people deal with rapid change and the high levels of stress that comes from it, I have developed the following 7 actions you can implement TODAY to conquer stress and ensure you live a better quality life:
- Control what you see and hear. Minimize negativity from the news media, social media, radio, other people, etc. Intentionally put things into your mind that will allow you to connect, learn, grow, and continue to improve yourself.
- Maintain a positive attitude & mindset. Look for and focus on the positive aspects of life. Make a list of what you are thankful for. Start looking for opportunities of the future and how you can take steps to take advantage of them.
- Stop making excuses. Life rewards action and results … period! No matter what life throws at you, embrace it, consider your options, take action, learn from it, and move on. The worst you can do is nothing. Indecision is a decision.
- Prioritize your time on what is most important. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. Make them count. Concentrate on family, friends, and relationships, living a balanced life (health, wealth, faith, etc), eating healthy, and having fun. If you focus too much on one aspect of life (work – been there), then you don’t have other things around you to support you when something bad happens. Balanced, sustainable support across all dimensions of life is key.
- Get lots of sleep. Your mind is very powerful. It controls your entire body. It needs a break. Get off the grid, unplug from the smart phones, get your mind off of everything, exercise, and be disciplined in getting 7-8 hours of quality rest every day. If you don’t make you a priority, no one else will.
- Communicate with others. The worst thing you can do when under stress is become introverted, keep to yourself, and bottle up your emotions. Human beings are made for communicating. That is why we have ears and a mouth. Talk to people you feel comfortable with. Talk with experts like coaches, counselors, pastors, etc. Drop the ego and pride and ask for help. Everyone goes through good and bad times. Reaching out to others is a sign of strength (Step 3 – taking action), not weakness.
- Serve people with your gifts. No matter how bad things may be, there is always someone else in the world that is worse off than you. You were born with unique talents and gifts. Use them for the good of others by uplifting someone and making a difference that can change their lives forever. I have never met anyone that was stressed and miserable when out there doing good in the world. Be an example and make an impact.
Life is what we make it. It is a series of decisions we make each day that ultimately shapes who we are, what we do, and how successful we will be in the world. Proactively define success for you, develop a game plan to live that kind of life, remain disciplined in executing the plan, follow the above seven principles, and you will live a longer, happier, and stress free life.