I know the title may sound confusing because it is the opposite of what is recommended. While it is said one must live in the present and not worry about the future, and forget the past, I beg to differ. Your past is what brings you to your present and present leads to the future.
Sometimes it is necessarily to live in the now and enjoy the moment; however, I would never recommend making irrational decisions that might have drastic consequences. Our past can haunt us in ways that we may not even deem possible.
We might sit in peace thinking ‘Oh! The past is over…time for me to focus on the present’ and BAM…little Ghosts from the past return to haunt you when least expected…when the repercussions can be horrifying, when your life depends on it, that’s when we realize how important the past is because it can’t be separated from our present. Yes, be impulsive, go nuts but be wise and be ready.
So, then what is the point? Should we just never move on?
That is not the point at all, in fact, if you want to truly move on, you need to face your past. Face your demons, do not just bury them and pretend it never happened.
Forgetting your past is not going to help you move on.
Our life is a series of events. These events can be categorized into three categories:
1. Past Events
2. Present Events
3. Future Events
Today’s present is going to be tomorrow’s past. I am not trying to sound mega deep here but it is what it is. Every decision we make today is going to impact our lives tomorrow and the years to come.
How to Deal with a Horrifying Past and Achieve Peace of Mind with it?
It is a known fact that when someone tries to forget a memory, it can have traumatic effects on his or her mental health. It is not good for peace of mind. It can scar a person for life, which is ironic because that is exactly what one tries to escape by forgetting a past memory. Therapists never suggest that it is okay that you cannot remember what happened in 1997.
On the contrary, they will try to use different techniques to get you to remember what it is you have blocked out. Hypnosis is a popular technique that is used to make a person remember a forgotten memory. This is not done to make you feel worse about your life, it is a step to find out what is leading to the chaos in your mind. You can never treat an ailment without a diagnosis.
Hence proven, if you want to move on from your past, come to terms with it, face it. Only then can you ever achieve mental peace.
Nobody said you are not allowed to make mistakes. True life lessons, or at least the ones worth having, are from the mistakes you make. You will not learn much if you never make any mistake. You know why? It means you are not doing much; it means you are not taking any risk.
The mistakes you make are like a treasure map, it paves the path to enlightenment. It would be silly to forget them. That is how you will learn and grow and become the wise, beautiful, classy person you are meant to be!
3. Never, ever be embarrassed of your Past:
Embrace it, it is not embarrassing that you have lived. It is beautiful, life is beautiful, your past, as scary as it was, it is yours to remember. It is going to make you who you are going to be. It is going to be a part of your life. Once you have embraced it, it will bring you mental peace like no other.
Yes, past can be a strange place to visit, but there is no stronger emotion than nostalgia. It can make you smile, cry, it can make you angry and feeling emotions is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength, it is a sign of life, a sign of humanity, and nothing is more beautiful than humanity.
Remember your past, face it, accept it, embrace it and you will come out a strong, more powerful person. More enlightened, and insightful. It will bring you peace of mind, facing the stressors is not going to cause you more stress and anxiety, on the contrary, it shall make you mentally strong, and what comes with mental strength? Say it with me – Peace of Mind.
What is peace of mind? It is that calmness, the lack of chaos within us. It is just what is, PEACE. Just like our bodies require rest, our minds need rest as well. Rest is not just about a full night sleep. It is not just about getting 8 to 9 hours of continuous sleep that will provide you with peace of mind. Yes, sleep is essential to proper functioning of a human being, but what about mental health? What about other areas of our lives that also require rest? Focusing on these areas is also crucial to peace of mind and it helps us fight those sudden jolts of stress and anxiety.
I got inspired to write about this through a post by TheShineApp on Instagram.
What are these 7 Areas that we need to focus on to achieve peace of mind? Let’s find out
1. Physical Rest for Peace of Mind
Sleep is a form of physical rest, but here I am referring to rest from aggressive physical activity. Exercise and staying active, going for a walk, these are all important, and should not be ignored but there needs to be a balanced approach to life. Too much of anything is not good, yes even ice-cream. Again, that Danny Tanner taught me a lot as a Full House obsessed child.
The point is, if you spend an hour or two everyday working out, spend some time giving your body a rest. What is the exercise to rest ratio? There is no hard and fast rule here that needs to be followed. The best advice I can give is, listen to your body. If your body feels pain, do not push it. If your body is sore from too much cardio, lie down. If you had a rigorous training session today, take it slow tomorrow. Take a walk instead of running on that treadmill.
Maybe skip that heavy weightlifting, go for a calming swim instead, or just float, nothing is more calming than that. You get the picture, keep that unnecessary stress and anxiety away by listening to your body, and you will know what it needs. Spend a few hours at the spa, get a pedicure, a relaxing massage, lay down on a recliner and read a book, or sip on some chicken soup. Taking care of yourself and giving your body some rest is necessary for peace of mind.
Along with physical rest, our senses need rest too. Our sense organs are overworked. We are constantly using our eyes, our tongue, our ears, our noses, and our skin. These are things that we take for granted, we do not even realize it because it is just so normal.
Right now, me typing this blog post, I am using all my sense organs without even thinking about it. My fingers are touching the keyboard, my eyes are looking at the screen, my ears can hear a cooking video on YouTube, my mom is watching, and my ears have no choice but to hear it.
Also, my ears hear my typing, which is louder now that I am aware of my senses more than ever. The things you can achieve if you start focusing! My nose is on an overdrive as well, I can smell dinner, which is making me hungry, so the only sense organ that is currently not being used by me – My tongue is also about to get to work.
The whole point of that tangent is that our senses need a rest, just as much as our bodies do. Close your eyes every now and then, lay down alone in peace, and just do nothing. It is not as easy as it sounds, because the society has taught us that hustle is the only correct way of life.
Therefore, it is so important to talk about the importance of rest. It is crucial for peace of mind. It is crucial to keep the stress and anxiety away. Shut down your gadgets, step into a comfortable, dark room, away from noise and just be.
3. Spiritual Rest for Peace of Mind
Rest your mind and focus on your spirit every now and then, meditation helps, reading scriptures helps, connect with your spirit by mindful breathing exercises. Spending some time in nature also allows you to connect with yourself and explore your true spirit.
Praying helps a lot of people feel calmer and more connected with the universe. Regardless of your faith and whether you are a believer or not, praying has been proven to have a wonderful effect on the mental health. Just knowing that there is a presence looking out for you is assuring and helps people put their minds at ease, in other words it leaves room for spiritual rest.
Just like everything else, there is a limit to creativity, the right side of your brain is what is utilized when you are being creative. It is incredible and fun to be creative and just create art, music, ideas but just like your body, your brain needs to rest as well. Do not always feel the need to create or be productive.
It is perfectly okay; in fact it is imperative that you give yourself some time-out from creating and instead spend some time enjoying somebody else’ creation. Enjoy creativity by giving your creativity a rest and read a book created by someone else, enjoy music composed by someone else, or simply watch a show and enjoy somebody else’ vision come to life on screen.
A little Netflix will not hurt anybody. Creative rest is also required for true peace of mind. The pressure to create can also cause stress and anxiety. Rest up.
5. Mental Rest for Peace of Mind
What this basically means is, stop over thinking, stop over analyzing, stop over planning, stop overwhelming yourself with every single little or meaningful thought that may try to make a home in your mind. It is easier said than done, but the key to peace of mind is awareness that you need some.
Awareness that you can create peace of mind, awareness that there are simple ways in which you can teach yourself to feel less stressed out and face stress and anxiety like a champ.
I have quite a few articles about this, I will link one right HERE, and another one right HERE.
6. Emotional Rest for Peace of Mind
It is sad that we live in a world where it has become normal to not show emotions, it has become “cool” to not feel emotions. Some might even brag about not feeling anything, so NEWS FLASH – It is not good for your mental peace. It is NOT normal, it is not cool, and it is certainly not healthy.
Keeping your emotions all bottled up tightly inside you is not going to bring you any peace of mind. Make a habit of expressing your emotions, without worrying about what others might think. First, nobody will judge you for it, secondly, do it for your inner peace.
Crying is therapeutic, crying is natural, people cry when they are overjoyed, we cry when we are sad, it is a natural response to deep emotions. Let it out! Bawl out like a baby, cry into your pillow if you must, then get right back up and move on with your life. Pent up emotions are going to cause a lot of stress and anxiety, if not instantly then eventually. That song from Frozen comes to mind –
Let it go, let it go, don’t hold back anymore, let it go, let it go, turn away and slam the door
Yes, I improvised the lyrics a little, and maybe do not slam doors, or if you must, be gentle. Yes, anger is a real emotion, and it is okay to express it, just try not to break any walls or doors. More assertive, less aggressive. Journaling is a fantastic way to express your emotions without causing a “scene”, if that is something you are worried about.
7. Social Rest for Peace of Mind
Last but not the least, social rest is essential to mental peace. I cannot stress more on the importance of spending some time alone, every day. Not saying you should turn into a hermit and give up socializing, however, at least an hour by yourself every day is good for your mental health.
It is also necessary to strike a healthy balance, if you are on the other end of the spectrum and barely ever meet anybody, perhaps it is time to do that. Find a happy place and find a healthy balance. Hang out with people, and then hang out in your own company as well.
The key to mental peace is to strike a balance. Too much of anything is not good. Too much of creativity, too much sensory stimulation, too much socializing, too much exercise, or even too much spirituality. If you crave peace of mind, you need rest, your body, mind, soul need rest. It is only through rest that you can rejuvenate and energize enough to start afresh and reach out for your dreams. Want to create your perfect life? Rest Up first! After all, you can’t dream unless you sleep.
7 Stress Relief Activities – Americans Coping with Stress and Anxiety
Seven among ten adults state that they feel stressed out in day to day life, and this stress and anxiety has affected their relationships, work, physical and/or mental health. According to the American Psychological Organization, stress and anxiety are a major concern in the United States.
The stressors might shift a little each year, but they also remain the same. America is one of the most stressed out nations in the world, I am not just saying that there is data to prove this. Yes, the American dream is real, but the fulfillment of that dream does not come easily. What is more concerning is that each year the surveys conducted reveal that the levels of stress and anxiety keep growing.
In the 2019 survey, the increase in mass shootings was the biggest stressor that American adults faced, there is no surprise as to what the biggest stressor is in 2020. You guessed it, it is this year’s Pandemic and the amount of stress, anxiety, uncertainty, and fear that comes with it.
However, the good news is that while there is stress and anxiety, and there is lots of it. There are also several coping mechanisms. There are ways to deal with anxiety, and there are things you can do when you feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Simple things that you can do.
Stress and anxiety are on a rise, but so is education about stress and anxiety. People are more aware, and the awareness amongst people keeps growing each year as well. There is peace in knowing that you are not the only one going through this. There is peace in knowing that there are ways to fight feeling stressed out. There is peace in knowing that there are simply coping mechanisms to deal with stress and anxiety.
According to the American Psychological Association, aka APA, the survey about stress reveals these seven as the most common coping mechanisms practiced by Americans for stress and anxiety.
1. Music for Stress Relief
Surprise! Music to the rescue! It should come as no surprise that the most common out of all stress relief activities, as revealed by the survey is music. Stressed out Americans take to music to fight stress and anxiety. Music is the most fun and simple way you can fight stress and anxiety. You can get lost in the music, it might even be hypnotizing for some, depending on what kind of music for stress relief you pick. Playing music is just as effective as listening to it.
While some people would recommend peaceful, calming, soothing music for stress relief, something soft, melodious, and just sweet to take your mind of things. Some people benefit from hard core rock and roll music for stress relief. I would say listen to whatever works for you. Everybody is different, and it is reasonable to believe that our tastes in music, and what kind of music makes us feel better, also varies from person to person.
Metal music is not exactly the most calming, I would not say it brings you peace of mind, but it might be just what the doctor ordered for your current state of mind. Sometimes, nostalgia works as a great stress relief activity. Just thinking about the good old days, and music takes you back to a different, simpler time like nothing else.
2. Exercise for Stress Relief
The second most common activity for stress relief sighted by Americans is stress relief exercise. Exercise does not mean specifically rigorous weightlifting and cardio. Simply get moving. I would recommend combine 1 and 2 for the best results. Listen to music for stress relief, and combine that with dancing, get up and start moving, no you do not need to be Michael Jackson or Britney Spears for that. Just jump if nothing else. It works, I promise.
Take a walk, step out into nature, as opposed to the treadmill. If it helps thousands of Americans coping with stress and anxiety. They are onto something and it will help you and your loved ones as well.
Swimming is an instant stress relief activity. Something about the work out, combined with the water, the blue of the water, the open sky, indoor pools work just as well too. The bottom line is, standing is always better than sitting, and walking is always better than standing, particularly when it comes to stress relief activities.
3. Praying for Stress Relief
This one might come as a shock to some but praying as one of the stress relief activities was the third most used coping mechanism for stress and anxiety. Sometimes, the situation is out of your control. You cannot fix it, or perhaps you have tried everything you could and now it is out of your control. In this case, praying is the best thing you can do.
You have studied hard and smart for that test, got to the classroom in time, finished your test in time, and now it has been submitted to the examiner to be corrected. You cannot change the answers, you cannot fix that grammatical error, it is out of your control; just pray for the best.
It is pointless to worry about it, I know it is easier said than done, but no harm in trying right. Once you pray, you let it out in the universe, it also acts like a journal, instead of penning down your stress and anxiety in your diary, you are talking to God, it is like therapy, AND it is free. What else can we ask for, right?
The other day I was talking to my friend who is an Agnostic, and he mentioned he prays when he wants something. Does that mean he is a believer? Probably not, but the fact is praying is an effective way to relieve stress. However, it might not be a popular opinion, but it is always nice to believe in things.
4. Yoga for Stress Relief
The fourth most common stress relief activity stated by Americans who participated in the APA survey, was yoga for stress relief. There are hundreds if not thousands of videos that you can find on the internet about stress relief yoga. Just google it or enter yoga for stress relief on YouTube. You are sure to find a ton of different options to choose from.
5. Meditation for Stress Relief
Meditation for stress relief might sound intimidating to many, I have also tried stress relief meditation, I saw an expert who guided me, and I did what he said and tried meditation for stress relief for a couple of months. It did not work because I was not doing it right. I was overthinking it, my thoughts in my head kept getting louder and louder, I was thinking more about when my alarm will go off, and I can carry on with my other activities. That is not how you meditate, and it definitely not how you cope with stress.
However, with a little more time, and effort I realized how simple it really is. All I needed to do was to concentrate on my breathing. Focus on slowing down your breath as you take the air in and let it out. That is all there is to it. Do it for five minutes. Feel your body release stress. It is one of the best stress relief activities in my opinion. Just do not rush it and keep it simple. After all, something that is all about keeping the chaos out, should not have to be complicated.
6. Talking to Someone for Stress Relief
Many Americans understand that emotional support can be crucial to dealing with the stress and anxiety in their lives. Reasons to feel stressed out are many, but so are people in your life. Talk to a friend you rely on, a family member you trust. Your neighbor who has your back, talk to your hair stylist, they are fabulous listeners. The point is Americans seek emotional support as one of the stress relief activities because it truly helps.
If you do not feel comfortable talking to someone you know personally, seek out a counselor. Psychologists, therapists can help you manage stress, it is what they studied for, it is their job, and they are good at it. More and more Americans rely on psychologists for stress relief support, as the percentage increases each year.
Seeing a therapist, or a profession to help relief stress, is becoming more and more acceptable with time. Not just in the United States but worldwide, with increase in awareness about depression, people are now more open to seeking professional help.
7. Smoking for Stress Relief?
There are many stress relief activities that are unhealthy. According to the same survey by APA, many Americans, 14% to be precise, stated smoking as one of their chosen stress relief activities. While this might give some temporary relief, it is not recommended. There are healthy, cheaper, non-cancer-causing alternatives that can and should be used for stress management. Smoking and drinking will do more damage than good in the long run.
The theme here is to focus on something else, get busy, get distracted, get up and dance, go for a walk, put on some music for stress relief and just enjoy the moment. Practicing yoga or mediation are great stress relief activities, talk it out and at the end of the day, just pray. Pray for peace of mind, pray for a better tomorrow, pray for a calm you.
In my previous post I researched and shared the nine most common reasons for stress and anxiety in the United States. Usually the list has the same issues that the world is grappling with – Stress and anxiety related to work, finances, unemployment, people are stressed out because of relationships, health issues, he economy, the future the past; but there is a new entrant into that list; and it has made such an impact with its first appearance that it has taken the spot of all other stressors and left them behind.
The topmost common and concerning reason for stress and anxiety in the United States today is the coronavirus.
Not just the illness but the consequences of the illness. Its impact on the society, its impact on the economy, its impact on employment, everything is related. Isolation is the new norm; people have lost their peace of mind. Peace of mind that we did not even know we had before this bizarreness started.
Face masks, hand sanitizers, lock downs, Govt imposed restrictions that sometimes feel like a curfew – this is the new normal now, globally. It is what the whole world is talking about, these are some very peculiar times, feels like a plot right out of a science fiction movie.
If somebody had told me in 2019 that there would be a virus that would force the world to stay home, and cause so much chaos, insanity, stress and anxiety, a virus that resulted in human beings being terrified of other human beings, I’d tell them to go find their lost marbles.
6 Lessons that I Learned from 2020 and You Should Too
There is a lesson to be learned in everything, life teaches you more when it is not going the way you had planned. But to learn from these stressful situations, you need to open yourself up, open your mind to the lessons that you can take in from every little problem you are faced with.
There are ways to strengthen the body, we go to the gym to strengthen our muscles, we take vitamins to strengthen our system, what about our minds? Our emotional strength? Equally if not more important than anything else. Stress is vital for survival, in small doses it motivates us, in large doses, it can destroy us internally and even kill us. Let’s take the number 1 stressor today and turn it into something positive. Let’s turn this into life lessons:
1. Reduce Stress and Anxiety by Slowing Down
As a believer, I honestly believe nothing happens without reason. Every single event, regardless how little or catastrophic, has been brought to us for a reason. What could the reason be for this crazy quarantine causing virus? It means we need to slow down. We need to spend more time doing the little things in life that bring us peace of mind. We need to calm down!
We are running after success, money, fame, goals constantly, and while it is great to have goals and ambitions. As Danny Tanner very eloquently stated “Too much of anything is not good, yes even ice cream.” There needs to be a balance, we need to slow down physically and mentally.
Feeling stressed out and uncertain about the past, present or future? Smell the flowers, sit out in the backyard and gaze aimlessly at the sky, the shapes of the clouds, listen to some music for peace of mind. Get drenched in the rain, it is a lot of fun, you might catch a cold so do not quote me on that one but yes, it is a fantastic way to destress. Stop running, slow down, take a walk instead.
2. Find Comfort in your Own Company
Finding comfort in your own company is crucial. I see people going crazy all over the world, as if staying at home is the worst thing that could happen to them. What happened to the appeal of “Netflix and Chill”? The whole world seemed to want it, all of us wanted just to have one month of doing nothing. Here it is! We have it! It has been forced on up.
And dare I say, this was the only way we would ever get it – A few weeks of staying home and doing nothing! Is it really that hard to live with yourself? If it is then we need to re-think our lives. There is strength in being OKAY living internally occasionally, without any external stimuli. Imagine not needing anybody to be happy!
This year, almost every nation worldwide was forced to stay home, in fact failing to comply with those orders were an act of crime and punishable by law. Many people all around India were arrested for being seen outside during lockdowns. For many, it was a requirement to go out and work to be able to eat that day. However, for many, it was just an act of rebellion.
There is power in loving your own company. You build your own peace of mind. There is strength in isolation, of course this should not lead to loneliness and agoraphobia; that is a whole other story. But think of it this way, if you are happy in your own company, without needing any body else to entertain you, how amazing would your life be? You meet people, make friends, because you genuinely want to, not because you need to, to get away from yourself.
3. We really need an Internet Quarantine
Technology has consumed us! Literally, need I say more? Could we get through this self-isolation without social media? Without YouTube? without Netflix? Without Tick Tock? Without Video Games? If all of these were also part of the “Stay away from” list, what would we do? I have been wanting to read more, but have I? NO! I do not know a lot of people who are spending this time reading books. I am wondering if we will ever have an internet quarantine.
What would that be like? Imagine a month of no internet, just going out and spending all your time outdoors? reading books? Playing board games? Do not know about you, but I am intrigued! Maybe a month without the internet is just what the doctor ordered. Maybe a month without the internet, will make us see what us is around directly through our eyes, and not through our screens.
Maybe a month without the internet will help us our addiction to it, or at least help many realize that they are addicted to it. Maybe a month without the internet, will reduce stress and anxiety. Think of the 1990s, no cell phones, no computers, no internet, no WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube. Just our friends, our families, our lives, home picnics, the outdoors. Just thinking about those times brings me peace of mind.
We live in a world where we cannot imagine our lives without the internet, after all, I wont even be able to post this blog post without access to the internet. I will not have a job without the internet, But how about this? How about minimizing the amount of time we mindless scroll down our Instagram? how about minimizing the amount of time we check our messages every day?
How about minimizing the amount of time we spend on watching prank videos on YouTube, how about we spend that time building a hobby? A career? A plan? Coloring? Painting? Learning a new skill? Meeting our neighbors? Catching a movie, a cup of coffee with an old friend? I am already trying to make this change into my life. Let’s do this together!
4. We Cannot Plan Everything – There is Peace in Knowing That
Destiny is real! Weddings have been postponed, graduations have been cancelled, family vacations have been delayed. When we plan events like this, we think about the weather, or we pray for everyone’s health. Never do we EVER prepare for “what if a crazy virus infects the world, and we are asked to cancel the wedding?”. Destiny is just that. It is unpredictable, it is pre-written. It is scary but also there is peace of mind in knowing.
It is calming to realize that we do not have to plan everything because what is meant to be…WILL BE! It helps reduce stress and anxiety to be aware that we cannot and should not try to think of every single event in our lives. Instead of fretting over trying to control every aspect of your life, learn to sit back sometimes, breathe, slowly, and smile knowing that destiny will unfold, regardless of your plans, or you stressing out about it.
5. The Most Basic Need is the Need to Survive
Maslow’s Need Hierarchy is real! Before the Covid19 shook the world at its core, we were obsessing over impeachments, political propaganda, religious warfare, Climate Control, Elections and then, suddenly, the whole world was preoccupied with the need for survival.
Stocking up on groceries and medication and toilet paper became the new norm. All united in this need for survival, fighting the same enemy, united by this strangeness, at least temporarily. Nothing can cause more stress and anxiety than the human and animal need to survive, to live and to live in peace.
6. Never Take Anything for Granted
This crazy year taught me never to take anything for granted. It was the things that we did not even think twice before doing that were taken away from us – Being able to spend time with friends, family, going out for a walk, taking your dogs out for a walk, sharing a cup of coffee or tea with your best friends, inviting your brother or sister over for dinner.
How about, going to sleep without stressing out about waking up with a strange illness? Hugging your parents without fearing for their life. Being able to leave your house without a mask, being able to go to a restaurant and working on your laptop in peace, not overusing the hand sanitizer and feeling your skin stretch and dry out in anguish. Not having to sanitize your groceries before storing everything in the refrigerator.
I do not know about you, but these are things I thought would never change. These are things we do not even feel grateful for, because these are so little, right? These things could never be taken from us? We were never going to not hug our loved ones. However, all these simple, everyday things were impacted this year, and if it can happen once, it can happen again. The thought of meeting strangers on the road caused stress and anxiety this year. Bottom line is, never take anything for granted. You wake up in the morning and breathe? Be grateful!
Let’s all learn from this. Let’s take the lessons we learn from this into the future, the future after quarantine needs to be different. Once this is all over and we continue living exactly the way we lived before, then what was it all for? What was the point of this year? What was the point of corona and quarantine? There is ALWAYS a point, there is always a lesson, there is always a change that needs to be made. Let’s move forward to 2021 with that change in mind.
One in three people say they experienced a lot of stress during the previous day. Stress and anxiety are a major source of concern. Especially with the unexpected virus that shocked the world in the beginning of 2020, the levels of stress and anxiety are off the charts. Even people who had little experience with them have reported to be showing symptoms that are caused by stress and anxiety. These symptoms include headaches, fatigue, and sleeplessness.
Top 10 Most Stressed out Countries in the World
According to Gallup, A global analytics, and advice firm, here is a list of the most stressed out countries in the world:
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Most Common Reasons for Stress and Anxiety in the US:
The United States of America is in the seventh spot for the worlds most stressed out countries. Los Angeles was discovered to be the most stressed out city in the United States, according to the Gallop survey, New York and Chicago are few of the other cities in the United States that were found to have the highest level of stress and anxiety.
What causes this? United States of America, is globally considered to be the land where dreams come true, the American dream, so, why are people living in this dream land so stressed out? Here are the top reasons.
The pandemic is a reality that none of us thought was possible. Millennials and Gen Z-ers alike, had never even imagined a world where hugs became a source of fear, and masks became the norm. The uncertainty caused by the virus, the constant fear or catching the virus, or a loved one catching the virus. The Government’s response to coronavirus all add up to the levels of stress and anxiety in the country.
Of course, it is not a surprise that in country as independent as the United States of America, work is a major source for stress and anxiety. The 2020 poll reveals that the number of people who sighted “work” as a stressor is greater this year, as compared to the previous year. The percentage increased from 64% in 2019 to 70% in 2020, according to apa.org.
The change in work routines, because of coronavirus, the uncertainty of employment, the work from home was appreciated by many people but many were not thrilled with the concept of their homes turning into their offices overnight. A lot of employees faced salary cuts or were apprehensive about the possibility of salary cuts in future. It is no surprise that all these factors contributed to the increase in work related stress and anxiety among Americans.
Just like work, money is a major factor in the rise in stress and anxiety across the country. The two are connected, with unemployment on all-time high, businesses failing to break-even and thousands of people reporting bankruptcy this year, it is a given that meeting necessary financial needs has not been an easy task for many households in this past year.
The coronavirus caused the economy to suffer tremendously, in a way that had not been seen in a long time. Stress and anxiety caused by the major decline in the American economy saw the largest rise. It went from 46% last year, to 70% this year, based on a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association. The American citizens are obviously concerned about the country’s economical status.
Relationships like spouse, kids, siblings, partners, is another major reason for stress and anxiety for Americans. Concern about their safety, wellbeing future. Amidst the pandemic, and changed work routines, with kids studying from home, and couples working from home, divorce rates increased, separation, arguments, leading to stress and anxiety also increased. Peace of mind suffered as couples tried to adjust to their suddenly changed reality.
6. Disrupted Routines
75% of the survey takers in America stated they experienced stress and anxiety because of disrupted routines. Children spent the entire year studying from home. Home schooling became a norm, and this not only affecting the children but also their parents, who had to adjust to the sudden change in routine.
The mornings changed, the night routines changed, the days changed. Suddenly children must be taught, their minds need to be stimulated within the confines of the house. Work from home, though a blessing in disguise for many Americans, was not an easy adjustment, this constant balancing act between taking care of the kids at home, and meeting up with work responsivities has been a cause for the rise in stress and anxiety among many Americans.
7. Housing Costs and other Basic Needs
Another cause of anxiety and stress among Americans is to pay the housing, rents on time. Being able to meet the monthly requirements needed to pay the electricity bills, telephone, bills, other utilities has caused panic and stress across the country in the past, but more so this year.
The obsession with hoarding toilet paper during the beginning few months of the pandemic shows clearly how the uncertainty of the future impacted people. Being able to have access to necessities like food and water caused an uproar and caused a lot of public displays of desperation across the country. Several videos can be found on the internet to prove that. I am sure a lot of those people caught on tape are embarrassed about that now. I could be wrong though.
8. Missing out on Major Milestones
The same survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, also reveals that missing out on major milestones has also resulted in stress and anxiety.
Missing out on graduation ceremonies, Prom, not being able to celebrate your sweet sixteenth birthday or the first birthday of your baby, cancelling weddings, or celebrating virtual weddings, or weddings with a handful of guests as opposed to how you had been planning is a justifiable cause for losing peace of mind.
Not being able to step outside for some fresh air, the fear of stepping out, not being able to meet friends and family, being forced to stay alone in something that is very similar to solitary confinement caused a lot of loneliness, and mental health suffered as a result. Introverts were affected as well, but introverts adjusted to this a lot better than extroverts.
Those used to the gregarious way of life were deeply impacted by the virus inflicted self-isolation. While a lot of people are now used to the recluse way of life, they say it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit, so it can be assumed that this self-isolation has become an acquired taste for many over the last few months of coronavirus. Habits are not always good, and self-isolation is not one habit that I would recommend. It has and will continue to trigger stress and anxiety in several people of all ages.
People of color have reported a higher degree of stress and anxiety. Black Lives Matter started in the United States, but it has become a global movement. The reason for this is the high level of fear and anger within the African Americans in the country. Anxiety is mainly caused by fear. That is the connection. People of color are more likely than white adults to report stressors in their life, according to the same survey by APA.
Symptoms of Stress and Anxiety
Women have consistently ranked above men when it comes to suffering from stress and anxiety. Over the years several surveys have been conducted to understand the triggers, the reasons, and the impact of stress, and it is a fact that more women experience stress than men.
Sometimes, it might not be obvious that a person is dealing with stress. They might lack the awareness, or perhaps, they are in denial.
Here are some common symptoms of stress and anxiety:
1. Easily angered: Stress and anxiety might make you snappy and easily lose their temper.
2. Nervous: You suddenly become nervous about things that did not affect you like that before.
3. Fatigue: Constantly feeling exhaustion, tired even with little to no physical activity is also a sign of stress and anxiety.
4. Burn out: A survey by Gallop showed burn-out to be a stressor as well. Burn-out is lack of motivationto do the activities that once excited you.
Yes, stress and anxiety has grown over the years, however, one must remember nothing is permanent. If we are facing difficult times today, tomorrow we will see better days. There are a few ways to relieve stress. I have a post about it, click here for that.
The most common ways that Americans say they have successfully managed stress are by listening to music that calms them down, exercising, or just simply going for walk. Watching your favorite movie, or TV shows helps as well. Reading, praying, spending time with loved ones, spending time on forming new hobbies or pursuing old ones is a fantastic way to achieve peace of mind, or reduce stress and anxiety.
Every now and then you feel so tired that you just wish to get in bed and sleep for ten hours, however, things don’t exactly pan out as you had hoped. You get in bed and one after the other every troubling thought starts entering your mind. Before you know it, its 2 am and you’re wide awake, and not in the good Katy Perry way.
So here are 15 things you can do that can help you get that good night’s sleep:
Circadian Rhythm – why should we Sleep and Wake up at the same time?
This is good for our circadian rhythm. Promotes better health, better sleep and better mental health.
2. No Food or Sugary Drinks
I am no stranger to those sugar cravings before bed, but sleep therapists suggest to refrain from eating or drinking before going to bed. If you must have some drink, go for unsweetened green tea or chamomile tea, peppermint works pretty well too. It helps calm those nerves when you’re stressed out.
3. Treat Your Bed Room like a Bed Room
Our bed room is called a BED room for a reason. The main ingredient being a bed. A bed that is meant to be slept in. However, our busy lives have turned our bed rooms into a dining room, a TV lounge and even an office.
As a result we start associating our bed rooms with all of these activities. “I can’t sleep so lets get on the laptop and get a little work done”, yes? NO! This adds to the stress and we don’t need more of that when we are already stressed out.
4. No Screens / No Tech in Bed
Now this one might pinch, but it’s true. The light from our screens, even when our devices are set to “dark mode”, act like dementors, except, it doesn’t suck the life out of us, it sucks the sleep out of us. It tricks the brain into thinking it’s day time and causes us to overthink and under sleep.
5. No Naps during the day
While some people are experts at power napping, most people I know are not. You might think you’re going to rest your eyes for 10 minutes, the next thing you know it’s 6pm and dinner isn’t ready yet. It is advisable to keep the sleep limited to night time.
6. Create a Comfortable Environment
Get those snuggly pillows, a nice cotton bed spread, scented candles (careful with the fire though). When stressed out, our inner self is already in chaos, balance this out by creating a calm, peaceful and a comfortable external environment, this will help quiet your stressed out mind.
7. Slow, Soft, Peaceful Music
Many people, including myself, swear by music. Feeling low? Listen to Chill out happy music, some people prefer sad, love songs to feel better. Hey, whatever works for you, we don’t judge here in this Classy Clan Community.
Busy brain? aka, stressed out, soft, slow, calming music helps soothe the overworked mind, and puts your brain at rest, thus rendering a good night’s sleep. Sounds of the rain act equally well, and you don’t need to be in the middle of the monsoons to get this. Rain sounds, or nature sounds on youtube act just the same. Remember to put the phone away when you try this technique.
8. Calming Colors for the Bed Room
There are calming colors, and there are stimulating colors, while there is no good or bad color, it is advisable not to paint your bed room walls a red, or a bright coral, keeping the bed room color theme, a cool, neutral or a pastel shade will help you keep your stressed out mind a bit calmer, while creating a more peaceful exterior environment that promotes better sleep.
To find out, what colors are considered “calming colors” – Click here
9. Do not Leave Chores for the Next Day
While you don’t have to do everything today, if there is a task that can be done in ten minutes, finishing it before getting to bed will help you not stress about it. People seem to think it’s always the bigger problems that stress us out, but the truth is, stress is caused by overthinking and this over thinking can be about anything ranging from losing a job to forgetting to wash your plate after dinner. It will take two minutes to wash that plate, and you can sleep without stressing about it.
10. Relaxation Techniques
There are several known ways that help induce sleep. What do they have in common? All these techniques are aimed at reducing stress. For more ways on achieving peace of mind, click here.
Here are a few simple techniques that can be incorporated into our pre-sleep ritual:
Sleep Meditation: You don’t need to be sitting for this, just close your eyes, put on some meditation music and concentrate on that. Works like a charm
Deep Breathing: Take a deep breath in, hold it for a count of ten and breath out. Nice and slow.
Read a book: Might not be a technique, but works like magic.
11. Do not go to bed Angry
Upset with someone? Worried about something, angry at your friend? Something they said that you didn’t appreciate. Three simple words – Talk It Out. If you can’t talk to the person directly related, call up a friend and vent out. A good rant is often underestimated. Talking about our problems, helps us move on. It is good for your stressed out brain, and good for sleep.
12. A warm Bath before bed
Bath salts, Bubble baths, Bath Bombs, or simply just a relaxing warm bath works equally well. Just fill up that bath tub, get in, close your eyes and relax. I feel relaxed just talking about it. It is the best thing you can do to relax your stressed out mind, body and soul.
13. Set aside a Thinking-Time for yourself
By setting a separate thinking time in your daily routine, you can avoid thinking about those things when it’s time to sleep. This is recommended by sleep therapists and is worth a shot. For example, 9pm to 10pm is thinking time and that is when you allow yourself to think about everything that has been bothering you that day or week. Making a conscious effort to do this every day, not only helps sleep better at night, over time you won’t need a thinking time at all, as a result of feeling less stressed out every passing day.
14. Come up with a Night Routine that Works for you
This could range from putting on a beauty face mask, singing lullabies, oiling your hair, scented candles, moisturizing (Bath and Body Works Warm Vanilla Moisturizer is pretty amazing). De-stressing does not have to be complicated, simple things work incredibly well, and are easier to incorporate into our daily lives.
(If you use this link, I might make a small commission, this is my first amazon affiliate link, so I can’t be sure but either way, this moisturizer is divine!)
15. Seek Professional Help
Last but not Least, If nothing seems to work and you’re still stressed out, feeling anxious and just can’t fall asleep, do not hesitate to seek professional help. There are experts out there that can help and it is advisable not to take lack of sleep lightly.
Stress and Sleep go hand in hand, and usually have an inverse relationship. The higher the stress, the more negatively it impacts our sleep. Sleeping more than we should is also not a good sign. Good sleep is about sleeping an appropriate amount of time, and a good quality of sleep as well. Sleeping for fifteen hours, waking up every two hours, or not being able to sleep at night might all be indicators of a sleep disorder and should not be taken lightly. Try these simple ways to help you destress and promote better sleep into your life. You deserve it!