But day by day the world is becoming a crazier and more uncertain place to live in, not to mention stressful. Nothing seems safe anymore. Millions of people are in record levels of debt. Many are losing their jobs, their homes, their health and sometimes even their sanity. Worry, depression and anxiety seem to have become a way of life for way too many people.
We seem to have entered the Age of Anxiety. In fact, in 2002, the cover of Time magazine proclaimed this loud and clear on one of their covers as the featured story in that issue. The constant stress and uncertainties of living in the 21st century have certainly taken their toll, and as a result many of us seem to live a life of constant fear and worry.
When the terrorist attacks happened on September 11, this constant stress and worry seemed to just be magnified. In fact, many people even now four years later report they are still scared that something of that magnitude could happen again – perhaps closer to them.
Turn on the news or open up a newspaper and we are bombarded with disturbing images and stories. We begin to wonder if we are safe anywhere. In this, the information age, never before have we had so much access to so much data.
The economy is another stressor. Our country is in debt and so are many Americans. Soaring gas prices, outrageous housing costs, even the cost of food has sent many Americans to work in jobs that are unsatisfying and tedious. They work these jobs because they need a paycheck. Today, it’s more important to bring home the bacon rather than work in a dream career.
Having more women in the workplace adds to the stress. So many women feel the need to be everything to everyone and that includes a paycheck earner, house keeper, mom, wife, daughter, and sibling. The only problem with that is some women just don’t make any time for themselves thus contributing to their stress levels being at an all-time high.
Even children can feel the pressure of stress and anxiety. Teenagers who want to go to college find themselves pushing themselves during their studies to try and obtain scholarships so they can attend schools that have ever increasing tuition costs.
They find themselves having to hold down part-time jobs on top of all that to earn money for extras that their parents can no longer afford. Add peer pressure into the mix and you have a veritable pressure cooker!
Cell phones, internet, palm pilots, blackberries, i-pods – we are always on the go and always reachable. We don’t make time to relax and enjoy life any more. Why not? We certainly should!
We feel pressure to do these things because we think we HAVE to, not because we WANT to. All too often, it’s difficult for people to just say “No”. Not saying that one little word piles up un-needed expectations and obligations that make us feel anxious.
All of us will experience situations that may cause us to become stressed or feel anxious. The reasons are too many to note but can include, buying a property, having guests stay over (in-laws!), being bullied, exams, looking after children, managing finances, relationship issues, traveling etc.
Stress is a ‘normal’ function of everyday life. Only when it appears to take over our lives does it then become a problem.
Everyone will have different reasons why a situation causes them pressure. As a rule it’s usually when we don’t feel in control of a situation, then we feel its grip tightening around us causing us to feel worried or ‘stressed’.
If stress is caused by us not feeling in control of a situation, the answer is to try and reverse this, and regain that control. The good news is: YOU CAN!
You have everything inside you that you need to overcome your stress and the accompanying anxiety. The problem is, often we don’t realize that we are in control because we feel so out of control at time. But the tools are there, you just have to use them.
Let’s first look at the barriers we put up that are preventing us from becoming healthy and getting rid of our anxiety and stress.