Global stress levels are rising, but why are we more stressed than ever before? A recent survey revealed that 90% of Indians feel stressed, while 55% of Americans experience stress on a daily basis. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the most common stressors and offer some advice and guidance to help you cope.
High levels of stress have been reported all over the world. With more and more people struggling to cope with the demands of life in the 21st century, here are some of the most common reasons stress is becoming increasingly prevalent.
Life is unpredictable by nature, and sometimes, it can throw us a curveball that turns everything upside down. Trauma can have a lifelong impact on an individual or a network of people, for example, a family unit. The death of a loved one or a serious accident or illness can knock everything off-kilter and make the future seem a much more daunting prospect. Nothing can prepare you for losing somebody you love or finding yourself in a situation where you, or somebody who is special to you, might not live for as long as anticipated. The key to survival lies in accepting help and support from others and giving yourself time to grieve and heal. There is no universal formula for bereavement, and you should never feel like you to have tick boxes or go through specific stages, hitting deadlines or milestones along the way. Every human being responds differently to loss, and you might find that you have a very different way of coping to another person. Take your time, ask for help, and try and find ways to manage and express your emotions.
Money is a worry for the majority of people at some point in their lives. Most of us will go through periods where it’s a struggle to make ends meet. If you’re in debt, or you’re trying to support a family or keep a roof over your head, surviving from one payday to another can be a challenge. If you are dealing with money worries, it’s best to try and tackle the problem head-on and to take a pragmatic approach. If you ignore the situation, there’s every chance it will get worse. Check all your account balances and make sure you have an accurate perception of what is going on in terms of your finances. If you owe people or companies money, work through your debts gradually, prioritising those that are costing you money in interest, for example, credit cards, and those that need to be paid by specific deadlines. Before you look at avenues like getting another credit card or applying for loans without guarantor options, it’s a good idea to think about whether there are other paths you could take to avoid getting into more debt. Seek advice from a financial adviser. Sometimes, it’s possible to consolidate debts or to come to an arrangement with creditors that gives you more time to cover payments.
Do you find yourself thinking about work all the time, or do you dread the alarm going off on Monday mornings? It’s uncommon to find a job that makes you happy and content every single day, but work shouldn’t be a cause of endless sleepless nights and high blood pressure. If you are finding it difficult to cope with pressure at work, or you feel like you’re constantly chasing your tail, talk to your employer. If you have a contract, you shouldn’t be working extra hours on a daily basis without any reward or taking work home with you every evening. There may be ways of sharing out additional work or finding more effective solutions during high-pressure periods. Finding a healthy work-life balance is key to sustaining good mental and physical health, so give yourself time out, leave work at the office, and allow yourself periods to relax, recharge your batteries and have fun. Even the most industrious people need to enjoy time off.
In addition to time pressures, doing a job you don’t enjoy can also contribute to stress. If you watch the clock hands tick painfully slowly every day, and you wish you could do something else, consider taking that step. You don’t have to resign and put a stable salary or a secure job at risk, but there’s no harm in looking around for openings and opportunities. You might enjoy working at a different company, or perhaps you’d like to change career or gain new qualifications. Many people feel like they’re stuck in a job, but there are usually ways out.
Most of us moan about work from time to time, but research suggests that having a job can actually be incredibly beneficial for your wellbeing. Losing your job can trigger anxiety related to money worries, but it can also impact your confidence, self-esteem and self-worth. If you’ve been made redundant, or you’ve been asked to leave your job, try not to panic. There is help out there, and there is a way forward. Register with recruitment agencies, look for jobs online and update your resume to give yourself the best shot at getting an interview. If you can’t find a job that you want immediately, and you’re concerned about your finances, look for temporary roles that will ease financial pressure while you’re searching for something more permanent.
We live in a world where stress permeates the air. With stress levels higher than ever before, it’s crucial to explore coping mechanisms and to try and manage expectations. Nobody is capable of making themselves immune to grief, pressure or anxiety, but there are ways to reduce the severity of the impact of unexpected life events, challenges at work and difficulties related to balancing the books. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or seek professional advice, lean on family and friends and try and find a balance that enables you to combine work and pleasure. Take your time if you’re recovering from illness or loss and don’t despair if things aren’t going to plan at work or you’re struggling to keep your head above water financially. There is help available, and you might find that reaching out makes the situation more manageable.