By Jackie Ruka
Stress is very common in today’s busy world. Between long to-do lists, managing daily expenses and juggling multiple roles we play in our lives, it is no surprise that stress consumes Americans.
In addition to traversing a turbulent year of fires, hurricanes and governmental chaos, which now leads us to the holiday season? Sigh…
According to the 2017 Stress in America survey, nearly two-thirds of Americans (63 percent) say the future of the nation is a very or somewhat significant source of stress, slightly more than perennial stressors like money (62 percent) and work (61 percent), according to the American Psychological Association’s report, “Stress in America™: The State of Our Nation.”
Clearly, the unprecedented occurrences that have taken place over this year has erupted several social, economic, health and sustainability issues threatening the health and well-being of our nation. Fifty-nine percent of Americans feel we have reached the lowest point in U.S history, spanning every generation, including those who have lived through WW II, the Vietnam War, the Cuban missile crisis and September 11 terrorist attacks.
Most adults do not believe they’re doing a good job managing the demands of life. The good news is that stress and anxiety are highly manageable; however, there are several myths related to stress as well as realistic de-stressors. By proactively managing your stress and dealing with anxiety, you can begin to intentionally create meaning and pleasure in your life and work toward a lifestyle that has you feeling excited about the holidays and New Year to come!
Take note to common myths and de-stressors to improve well-being.
- Don’t wait for a rare opportunity to meet with friends once a year.
- Do create more realistic ways in which to spend quality time with friends more often.
- Don’t buy a gift to fulfill an expectation.
- Do buy or create a personal memento that depicts meaning, purpose and pleasure.
- Don’t forfeit your vacation days until the end of the year.
- Do schedule vacations and commit to taking all of your vacation days to rest and enjoy life outside of your job throughout the year.
- Don’t linger in old patterns that stunt your potential.
- Do choose to focus on what brings you closer to your desires by going beyond your comfort zone and try something new.
- Don’t use holiday food and alcohol as an excuse to cope with your anxiety and stress.
- Do exercise 30 minutes a day to reduce stress. Exercising 30 minutes a day actually decreases your age by 2.8 years.
- Don’t focus negative energy toward what is not working in your life.
- Do practice what you have gratitude for and write it in a journal nightly. Those who keep a gratitude journal have been reported to be healthier.
- Don’t put off your dreams any longer.
- Do take time each day to accomplish a task that brings you closer to your life’s dream.
- Don’t ignore what your body is telling you.
- Do get a good night’s rest, every night.
- Don’t wait to buy gifts and rush to accomplish holiday tasks at the last minute.
- Do get organized and start holiday tasks and purchases, by a specific date, to avoid holiday traffic and the mad rush.
- Don’t think you must fight stress.
- Do think of healing as the answer.
- Don’t feel you need to isolate yourself when holiday blues occur.
- Do surround yourself with people who lift you up, as community is the key to improving one’s well-being.
- Don’t consume more than an hour of news media.
- Do write five things you are grateful for in a journal each night. Studies have shown those with a gratitude journal tend to live longer, healthier lives.
We have the capacity to re-train our brains by changing the energy we create within ourselves. Through the struggles of storms, fires, diversity and negative media, it is the collective truth and spirit that can change the world!
I am deeply grateful for your courage and vulnerability to be the change you wish to see and lift your neighbor up when needed, do your part to save democracy and learn to ride the wave of change by asking for help when you need it.
First posted Dec. 22, 2017
“America’s Happyologist” Jackie Ruka is a lifestyle expert and certified success coach affiliated with Harvard University and Medical School. She is author of the No.1 best-selling book “Get Happy and Create a Kick Butt Life, a Toolbox for Rapidly Activating the Life You Desire.” Download to receive the 5 Mindshifts to reach Massive Success free quick guide.