Americans are more stressed than ever. Here are 5 things to do about it:
A recent study from LinkedIn released the most stressful industries to work in. I was drawn to this study because I myself have dealt with high levels of stress in my job the last few years, and I was curious to see what other people have been feeling in their own careers.
The survey asked almost 20,000 people if they felt high levels of stress in their industry. The results to me are shocking:
What shocks me has nothing to do with the specific industries that are reported to be the highest levels of stress. Seeing healthcare at near the top of this list was not at all shocking to me- my girlfriend worked as a hospital nurse throughout the pandemic and I have seen first hand how much trauma and stress are put on our healthcare workers in this country.
What shocked me was nearly 2/3 of workers in the least stressful industries were still feeling overwhelmed.
Maybe I am naïve, but I did not expect to see so many people share they feel this stressed with their work. It is an unfortunate reality that no matter what you do with your life, you will most likely have to deal with stress.
I've come to the conclusion that how you choose to handle stress will dictate your quality of life far more than the amount of stress that exists in it.
The American Psychological Association just released troubling new data showing that Americans are more stressed than ever about money, significantly impacting the mental health of millions of people.
The study shows that 87% of those surveyed cited inflation as a major stressor in their everyday life.
With the current state of the economy in question thanks to rising prices and geopolitical fears looming, it cannot be stated enough how difficult of a time this can be for so many people.
I would be lying if I said I haven't been over-thinking about money lately. Times like these can be incredibly taxing on anyone's mental psyche, with so much uncertainty and wealth destruction happening in capital markets.
So how can we deal with this?
Firstly, it is important to recognize what we can and cannot control. Unfortunately, there is little we can do in this current environment to change the prices at the pump or in the grocery store.
However as I mentioned earlier, life is not about what happens to you, it's how you react to what's happening to you.
So here is a brief list of things you can do to tackle some of that stress you are most likely feeling:
1.) Spend more time with friends and family.
Spending time with those you love brings up your mood, and reminds you of the important things in life. While work and personal finances are important, at the end of the day they pale in comparison to the importance of the time you spend with the people that matter most in your life.
2.) Exercise Regularly
I have struggled to be consistent in exercising regularly, however I do find that when I do make it a priority, I sleep better, feel better, and my mind is not as restless. Carving out 20-30 minutes a day even for a walk around your neighborhood can give yourself a break and the mental clarity you need to get out of your own head.
3.) Pick up a creative hobby or side project.
I think having a hobby is grossly underrated in today's society. Having a hobby where you can see progress in yourself can be especially useful, like learning how to play a new instrument, or paint, or write. Even if you don't think of yourself as a creative person, trying something new that you haven't experienced before can be an excellent distraction from the stressors of daily life, and you will take pride in getting better at it over time.
4.) Lower your media consumption.
When I initially wrote this, I wanted to say turn it off all together. But I think it is important to still stay connected and up-to-date with the world and what is going on around us to some degree. If you are completely shut off from the outside world, you may miss out on opportunity to learn or gain valuable perspective in your own life.
However, there is literally an infinite amount of media to consume every single second, of every single day. I don't think we fully have recognized how damaging it has become to our brains and mental health that we cannot unplug from everything, all of the time. (Shout-out Bo Burnham, his Netflix special crushes this point)
5.) Practice Gratitude
This past week I wrote about practicing gratitude on LinkedIn, and I loved to see some of the responses. Telling someone you are grateful for them will not only make them feel good, it will provide you with fulfillment as well. Taking a step back to recognize all of the people in your life, and blessings you have, will help minimize the things in your life you are stressed about.
There is always going to be stress in your life, and unfortunate circumstances presented to the world.
Each and everyday we wake up, we have a choice to make on how we will respond to these stressors.
I encourage you to take a deep breath, a step back, and focus on doing the best you can. Treat yourself kindly, and focus on controlling the things that you can control.
Stress will always be with you. How you choose to handle it will make all the difference.
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