Stress levels have increased 10-30% in the last three decades. Here are some tips to live a more stress-free life.
A statistic from a 2012 NY Daily News story recently caught my attention:
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University analyzed data from 1983, 2006 and 2009, and found people’s self-reported stress levels have increased 10-30% in the last three decades.
This is the opposite result from what one might expect from a society with ever-increasing technical and social advancement. We are more aware, and less tolerant of gender and racial inequities. There has been a greater focus on alleviating the plight of children living in poverty. And with the election of the first African-American president, racial minorities have never had a stronger voice.
Yet, despite progress, the report found that the groups who had it worst were still women, young people, and low-income Americans. Here is what these overstressed groups can do to reduce their overall stress levels:
Get a Massage
It is strange how often we forget about the simplest, most direct way to relieve stress: physically manipulating the area. Stress effects both the mind and body. Removing it in one area goes a long ways towards removing it from the other. Direct manipulation of the body can do wonders for relieving stress. Three of the most common physical de-stressors are:
Of those three, massage is probably the most direct method of stress relief. The benefits of receiving a massage are obvious. Less obvious are the benefits of giving a massage. With the easy availability of professional massage equipment from quality brands such as Earthlite, starting your own massage therapy business has never been more accessible.
There are a large number of colleges offering massage therapy programs. It doesn’t take very long to complete them. And the startup costs for such a business are minimal. It is a job that is both emotionally and financially rewarding. Because massage is not overly expensive, it is accessible to those who most suffer from stress in America.
Peers Without Pressure
Peer pressure is a real problem that effects a lot more than pre-pubescent, school kids. But make no mistake about it: School kids are under every bit as much pressure as grizzled, world-wise adults. We ignore this fact at our peril, and the peril of our kids.
According to statisticbrain.com, 20% of high school students have seriously considered committing suicide. The majority of gone on to the planning stage. And all too many of those attempted, and carried it out.
One of the main reasons there is so much peer pressure is that kids are desperately trying to enter the wrong peer groups. They perceive the group they are in to be of less value than the group to which they aspire. When children have a strong sense of self-worth, they can place a higher value on groups of kids just like them. Self-worth leads to peer group contentment, leads to less overall stress.
One of the best long-term stress reducers you can have is a savings account full of money. The biggest problem with growing old is not the loss of health. It is the loss of money. When a senior has to dip into the retirement account to deal with an unforeseen emergency, stress is always the result. That is largely because once retired, there are very few ways to replenish the funds once spent.
The best strategy for dealing with long-term stress is to have plenty of money put back against a rainy day. This emergency fund should be separate and apart from anything you need for day-to-day expenses. A retirement fund is not the same thing as an emergency fund. By definition, a retirement fund is all about day-to-day expenses. Emergency funds are something else entirely.
Whether a woman, a young person, or a person with low-income, massage, the right peer group, and emergency funds are a good start to a stress-free life.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
I am still working on accepting that there are people with intolerant minds and that you won’t be able to change everyone’s opinion.
2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
I’ve learned to appreciate my creative side and work ethic.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?
I’m most proud of what I’ve been able to achieve in my career thus far and I would like to raise it to new heights!
4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth–we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are–your Identity?
I can be an introvert, which tends to make it seem like I am avoiding people around me when that is not the case at all.
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my creative artwork and writing.