It’s too stressful for some people, and just fine for others. I find it too stressful some days, and other days I feel like I’m coping. Whether or not you feel stressed comes down to your perspective. If you think that something’s stressful – guess what – you’re going to feel stressed.
Why Do We Get Stressed?
Some people feel stressed because of time. Sometimes it’s hard to believe you can fit everything into one day – you go to a job for 8 to 10 hours, and then you come home and have to do chores and make dinner for you and maybe even an entire family. After dinner you probably have more chores and a checklist of to-do’s that have been eating away at your mind for weeks. You go to bed and then wake up to do it all over again.
Some people feel stressed because of their environments. Humans have built cities. Concrete, concrete, concrete. Busy, busy, busy. We naturally feel more relaxed when we see green and natural landscapes. But now there’s people everywhere and not a flower in sight. It seems like we never have a minute of calm anymore. Not to mention all the places you have to go in one day. Maybe work is a stressful place. Maybe your house is more chaotic than you want it to be. Even your commute to work can feel stressful sometimes.
Some people feel stressed from meaninglessness. It’s hard to do the same thing over and over again and feel like you have no end goal. You constantly have chores to do, a job to perform, and likely a family or people to take care of everyday. But, where the heck does it get you at the end of the day? What are you working towards?
All of these points make the world sound like a pretty crappy place. But let’s think about the things we don’t have to stress about – you probably don’t have to worry about hunting for food, finding shelter in winter, or worry about a bear attacking you and your family. It’s funny how society meets all of our needs, yet we still find so many things to be stressed about.
How Can We Become Un-Stressed?
Unfortunately, it’s hard to eliminate stress completely in one day. We’re habitual creatures. You probably get stressed about similar things throughout the week. You have developed stress habits over the course of your life.
In order to break these habits, you have to perform self-checks and develop self-awareness so you can stop yourself before you go down a “stress path”. You have to become conscious of you stress before you can stop it.
Figure out what’s making you stressed. Honestly, a lot of people don’t know what makes them stressed. I have times in the day when I feel anxious, but I have no idea why. So, I started writing things down when I got stressed. I recorded how I felt, what was happening in my environment, and what time of day it was. I also tried journaling a bit at night and performing self-checks throughout the busy day. I learned that you have to start talking to yourself. You have to ask yourself how you’re doing. From this experience, I found patterns in my stress behaviour. I use Stress Free to keep track of my daily trends.
Simply put, only you cause your own stress. No matter what you blame your stress on (your environment, your boss, your spouse, your kids), at the end of the day, your stress is your fault. Okay, external factors like poverty or an unhealthy marriage obviously don’t facilitate being stressed, but it comes down to realizing that you’re the problem. Until you stop blaming external factors for your stress, you can’t fix it. For example, if you blame your job for your stress, your brain is convinced that the stress will only go away if the job goes away! You’re practicing self-helplessness. Before you can make changes, come to the realization that you’re the one making yourself stressed. I know it’s mean, but that’s life.
Feel grateful for what you have. Sometimes I forget to be grateful for what I have. My family is in good health, I have a wonderful boyfriend, and I have a secure job right out of university. No matter how great of a situation we’re born into or we’ve made for ourselves, we still find ways to be stressed! We make things up in our head – when I get that promotion, I’ll be happy. When I finally get married, I’ll be happy. You can’t just keep looking into the future for your happiness. You have to practice happiness in the now.
Try meditation and breathing exercises. Okay, you’re probably rolling your eyes. Meditation and mindfulness seem to becoming buzz words now. But in all honesty, meditation is how I developed my self-awarness. I’m constantly training myself to check in with my emotions and stop myself from going down my “stress paths”. It’s hard to meditate at first. It’s hard to sit in silence and ask yourself tough questions. I mean, when do we ever experience complete silence anymore? We’re either on our phone, listening to music, watching Netflix, or keeping ourselves busy. So practice literally doing nothing.
Eat healthier. Get more sleep. You’ve probably read a lot of blog articles about getting your beauty sleep or eating “super foods”. I approach these rules in my own way – I try to eat a bit of everything, but mostly things that come from the ground. I wanted to see what happened if I removed sugar from my diet. Within a couple of weeks (yes, the first few days were hard!), I noticed I felt less anxious and I no longer craved buying sweets on my weekly trip to the grocery store. When I added a small salad to my daily diet, I noticed my hair was growing faster and my nails got stronger. So, you don’t have to eat only kale. Just try branching out and eating some veggies you wouldn’t normally eat. Take it one day at a time, and turn it into a habit. Habits are your worst enemy, but they can also be your best friend (when you take the time to develop good habits).
It can take several weeks to replace a bad habit with a good one. I like to focus on improving myself by 0.01% a day. And not everyday will be better. I’m a person, and sometimes I just have sad days. But start to check in with yourself, figure out what’s making you stressed, and try to love yourself more. The world is only stressful if you see it that way. Do the hard thing and convince yourself otherwise.