Are you a student, drive a car, have a job, have kids, married or in a relationship? Then you KNOW stress.
If you do not fall into any one of those categories, you're either a child only stressed about getting that lollipop you saw at the store, or you're one laid back, care-free, son-of-a-gun without a worry in the world. If you're one of these, then you might as well stop reading and carry on with your stress-free life.
But to the rest of us who know stress as a daily part of our lives (some worse than others), then this blog is for you. I'm going to tell you multiple reasons why we're stressed out.... All. The. Time.
First, I want to "stress" that having some stress is NOT a bad thing! Stress reveals that we care and don't want to screw up. It helps us to get things done and not procrastinate. It pushes us to work harder and motivates us to complete our goal. Stress can be a good thing, but too much of it is damaging.
After research, radio talk shows, observances of human behavior, personal experiences, and deep thoughts, I have come to a few conclusions of why we're stressed all the time:
1) The "American Way" doesn't reflect laid-back, chill, or taking things slow.... AT ALL.
Think about it. Our society constantly strives for "faster," "easier," and "more convenient." Just when we thought that no technological device, food serving or shopping system could get any faster, easier, or more convenient.... it does. Just when we thought phones couldn't become "smarter" or everything going 'touch screen'.... it did. When we thought eyeglasses were just eyeglasses, and watches were just watches, now we have eyeglasses and watches as phone/camera devices. When we used to be content with dial up, now we get pissed if the wifi is taking more than 3 seconds to load.
It's no wonder why our grandparents (and even parents) always say, "Back in my day, we didn't have ___. Instead, we had to ____."
This constant strive for everything being easier, faster, more convenient (including "to-go") has affected our society drastically. From faster speed limits, to the almost exclusive use of plastic cash (credit/debit cards), to everything being online/mobile accessible, to faster this, to more convenient that.... it causes us to feel like we're always in a rush.
Whether we're actually in a rush or not, we always feel like we are. And it has caused us to remain stressed and live a stress-centered life.
2) Social media, online articles, and other "list" blogs reinforce that we can do better, look better, feel better, live better, etc.
Because we have evolved into the "digital age" and rely on technology in our daily lives, we are exposed to all that comes with the online presence. There are thousands of articles, blogs, and social media posts that we are exposed to throughout our lifetime. And most of them seem to be about improving.
10 Exercises to Get Sexy Abs
25 Ways to Be More Productive
5 Beauty Secrets To Become Flawless
20 Power Foods That Will Shed Pounds
The Best Wrinkle-Free Cream On The Market
Books That Will Make You Smarter
How To Become A Powerful Speaker
Habits Of Wealthy People
How to Be Successful In Everything You Do
and even, How to Live A Stress-Free Life
We are constantly told how we can become better, faster, prettier, smarter, skinnier, richer, more popular, more successful, more fit, less stressed, less sad, less shy, less bored, etc.
And this is an additional stress that we have sitting on our shoulders every day. We feel like we always need improving, but not just in some areas of our life. We feel like we need to improve EVERY area of our lives and become... well.... perfect.
Hence, we strive for perfection, and we become even more stressed because we will never reach perfection. But Jesus Christ loves us DESPITE our imperfections, knows we will never reach perfection, and gives us grace, forgiveness, and love regardless of our failures. So for Christians, that fact should take a huge weight off our shoulders (even though we still find ourselves striving for perfection).
3) High expectations on relationships, friendships, and other's in our lives.
We've all done it... and we still do it. We set high expectations on a lot of things, even if we don't mean to. We tend to set the HIGHEST expectations in our relationships and marriage.
Some say it's the result of Disney movies growing up, or the continual outsourcing of unrealistic movies out there based on relationships, romance, and finding the "perfect one."
Some say it's due to the unrealistic bodies that are photoshopped (on every media source out there) of what the "perfect" women looks like: tan skin, huge boobs, big butt, and a tiny waist.
But regardless of our expectations, stress in our relationships comes at a 100% guarantee. Media and advertisements have shaped the way our minds process "how things should be." And because we're all human, because we're all imperfect and flawed, because we're all sinners and will always screw up, all of our expectations will never be met. Some will, some won't. But we stress ourselves out by setting high standards of what we think a perfect human being should be like -- not to mention that we probably see ourselves as meeting that standard -- and become stressed when it doesn't happen.
And the funny part is, we're surprised when our spouse or significant other screws up! In a sense, we should expect people to fail, to screw up, to not be perfect, and to not meet every one of our expectations. We all strive to be better and not mess up, but because we're human, we should be quick to forgive when it does happen. It's our own fault we get stress in our relationships and marriages, due to these expectations.
Gasp! I'm sure your heart just sank a bit... We all love caffeine, and most of us can't live without it. But not only do scientific studies show that caffeine increases stress (and can give us stress without even being in a stressful situation), I've proved it to be true through my own experience.
I completed a one-month "caffeine-free challenge" just to see if I could do it...and it was conveniently around the same time as Lent, so I just told people I was doing it for that purpose to save confusion and longer explanations.
My results: as impossible as it seemed (because I was practically immune to caffeine, as I could drink a cup of coffee right before bed and it not affect my sleep) and never thought you could have "too much coffee," I was indeed able to accomplish the one-month challenge. The first week was the hardest; headaches left and right, dying at work and unable to concentrate, wanting to go to bed at 8pm every night. But after the first week, I surprisingly started to need it less and less. Sooner than later, I didn't need it at all (even during the slow afternoons at the office). Now I am completely able to get through the day WITH MORE NATURAL ENEGRY THAN I DID WITH COFFEE EVERY DAY, and not to mention, even able to stay up later at night without getting tired. It's been an amazing experience that I actually now want to keep up... with the occasional cup of joe. But I mainly want to stick to decaf coffee and teas.
But the point is, no caffeine had made a difference in my stress levels. I felt SO much less stressed out than I normally did everyday. Having a lot of caffeine during the day or more than a cup of Joe can really increase stress and anxiety levels.
5) Bad spending habits.
Again, the "American Way" is not about saving our money; it's about spending it. But spending our money on crap... sorry, I mean stuff that we don't need... is why the majority of Americans have stress about money. We don't know how to save. We don't know how to invest. And we don't know how to be smart about our spending habits. Plainly, we just don't know how to handle money because we are told everyday that we need to spend it.
Hence, financial stress. Over 25% of Americans don't have savings, or hardly any at all. Over 24% are not saving for retirement. The majority of Americans only have $35k in their retirement funds. Did you know you need at minimum of $1million to be able to retire at 65 and not have to work again? I said MINIMUM.... $35k aint cuttin' it. You might as well work the rest of your life.
If you don't learn to handle your money wisely, you'll be a broke fool, in debt all your life, living paycheck to paycheck, will always be stressed about money, and/or will never retire.
Learn 1000's of tips on saving money and living frugally:
- Website: http://www.themoneysavinggarden.com
- Twitter: @livefrugally
- Facebook: The Money Saving Garden
- Blog: http://themoneysavinggarden.blogspot.com
So all in all, these are just a few reasons why we seem to be stressed out all the time. We have stressful lives: in our jobs, relationships, families, activities, responsibilities, and commutes. Stress is pretty much expected and hard to get away from. Even if we lived on a relaxing beach in the Caribbean, we would still deal with stress in many forms (natural disasters, bad weather, running out of money, losing a job, high prices, damaged home, poverty stricken areas, crime, etc).
Truly, the only true way of living a less stressful life is to be completely abiding in the Lord. He is honestly the only source that provides incomparable peace, joy, love, and hope --- unlike you can find anywhere else in this world. No person, no degree, no job, no place, no amount of money, no drug, and no lifestyle (earthly things) can compare to what comes from the Lord (heavenly things).
If you want to get to know Jesus, know more about what He did for you, and what He offers that no one else can, email me and we'll talk: firstname.lastname@example.org