Take These First Steps to Make Your Stress Go Away

Stress is a very normal, very human condition. There is no need trying to eliminate it altogether. But you can make the worst of it go away. Stress can be worrying without being crippling. One can be depressed without having clinical depression. One can be anxious without suffering from anxiety. If you are feeling some stress these days, don’t panic. You are far from alone. There is nothing wrong with you.

Contextualizing stress is the first little step you can take toward making it go away. There are things going on right now that are actually stressful. You should suspect something wrong with you if you feel no stress at all. Look around you. The world as we know it is on fire. Tens of thousands are still being forced out of their homes due to the California wildfires. We are in a pandemic that, contrary to what some might tell you, is getting worse by the day. Businesses are suffering and closing for good at an alarming rate. This is all very stressful. But it is also manageable. Here are the little things that can help you manage it:

Start Saving Money

If a big part of your stress is related to money, you don’t have to let it take possession of you. The best thing you can do when you don’t have enough money is start saving it. By doing so, you take control of the situation and change the narrative.

Do you have a dollar? You can open a credit union savings account. There is great power in having a savings account. It is not just a matter of compiling a war chest. It is mostly about taking control over something that makes you feel powerless.

The power of a savings account is that you have a safe place to treat some part of the money you have as a seed for the future. It can start as small as you like. And it does not have to save the day anytime soon. It takes a while for savings accounts to grow. But it does grow. You can watch it and help it along. Just knowing that you have some small thing you can do will keep the stress at a minimum.

Increase Your Education

Work can be a constant cause of stress when you have it, and a cause of even more stress when you don’t. No one has complete job security. Far too many people are one bad day away from having no job of all.

The pandemic has left a lot of people without work. Some that are still hanging on to work are on the verge of their companies going out of business. If you are in the theater business, the restaurant business, or the retail/mall business, you are not on stable ground. You are dealing with the stress of wondering if you will have a job tomorrow.

There is nothing you can do about whether or not your company or industry will be around. What you can do is prepare yourself for even greater opportunities. This is the perfect time to go back to school. Enroll online. Take some classes at your local community college. Learn a new skill while there is time. Things will get better and people will go back to work. You have the power right now to prepare for an even better job when that time comes.

Learn to Unfriend

You really can have too many friends according to Dunbar’s number. That is the number of relationships a person can maintain, about 150. The story is even more grim when you drill down a little deeper. We can only have 5 very close friends.

This comes as a surprise to people who have dozens of close friends and hundreds of meaningful relationships. Those are the people more likely to suffer relationship stress. They only believe they have that many close friends. They are simply incorrect about those hundreds of relationships being meaningful.

They end up spreading themselves far too thin and trying to please everyone. They want to be everyone’s best friend which is simply not possible. Human brains aren’t made that way. We end up with a lot of toxic relationships that zap all our energy trying to maintain.

The solution is to cull your friend list by a lot. You don’t have to write goodbye letters to everyone. Just find 4 or 5 people you can’t live without and get to know them better. Super serve those friendships and you will find that the stressful and draining relationships fade away on their own.

You can’t defeat stress entirely. But you can render it harmless. Take control of financial chaos by saving money. Take control of work chaos by educating yourself. And take control of relationship chaos by focusing on the few that really matter. 

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