Along with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, the news organization NPR conducted a nationwide poll about the sources of stress in Americans’ lives. Everything was covered from people’s personal experiences with stress, how they cope and the causes of stress on a daily basis.
After questioning over 2,500 adults across the country, the study concluded that nearly half of the people surveyed had a major stressful event in the last year, and that health concerns were one of the most common sources. Other sources included finances, work problems, family issues and self image.
In honor of “Simplify Your Life Day,” we decided to tackle some of the more common sources stress and provide some ideas on how you can overcome these obstacles to become a happier, healthier and more relaxed person.
1. Get in control of your finances…now: It’s never too late to grab the reigns of your personal finances. Have you ever been too afraid to check your bank account to see the balance staring back at you? Have you ever been surprised when your credit card is declined? Do you know how many credit cards you have open right now? Do you know your credit score? I know, I know, I am stressing you out just asking all of these questions. But the good news is that apps like Mint and CreditKarma are completely free, and help with you those pesky questions about savings and credit.
2. Prioritize at work: When you have looming deadlines along with more and more projects piling on top of you, it can be an incredibly stressful situation. Sometimes, your manager might not even be aware of how much work is coming your way. It is important to communicate your needs to your manager, or perhaps your HR department, when things are getting out of control. Your manager can help you prioritize what is most important, or bring on additional resources if your job is too big for one person.
3. Forgive, forget and bury the hatchet: Stress in your personal life can stem from unresolved issues with partners, friends and family members. Sometimes, the weight of these events can filter into other areas of your life and negatively impact you in ways you may not have expected. Sure, there are some issues that take a lot of time to heal but sometimes it’s just a matter of accepting someone’s apology or offering your own. If there are no amends to be made, follow the advice of the Oscar-winning song from the movie Frozen, “let it go.”
4. Get your health in check: The NPR study concluded that illness and disease is one major source of stress in our lives as Americans. Although some health issues are unavoidable, others can be prevented with healthy living. If you have been meaning to get in shape, quit smoking or eat better, now is the time to do it. If you haven’t been to the doctor for a check-up in some time, go ahead and schedule an appointment. If you know your risk factors, you can take proactive steps to steer clear of certain illnesses.
5. Surround yourself with those who make you happy: Instead of coping with stress by sleeping too much or drowning yourself in unhealthy snacks, consider spending your time with those who don’t stress you out: partners, friends, family and loved ones. Technology like video conferencing from Lifesize makes work/life balance easier by having the ability to join a meeting from wherever you are, on any device you want. Take a break from the office, go home and work more flexibly.
Do you have any advice on how to simplify your life? What is the biggest cause of stress in your life? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.