The vast majority of Americans today feel stressed out. I would say that it mostly stems from financial struggles, which, in my opinion, are only going to get worse in the near future. Women, in particular, get stressed out because they have too much on their plates. Ever since the feminist movement, women have been told that they are lazy bums and betrayers of their sisters if they stay home to raise their children. As a result, women have quadrupled their responsibilities, and in doing so, increased their risk of heart disease and cancer by trying to play wife, mother, and jack of many other trades all at the same time. If you’re struggling with stress in these hard times, I have some advice.
The first thing you need to do is realize that you are only human and that humans have limitations. It’s simply the reality of our systems. There are times when we just need to sleep or shut down. Thinking that you’re a lazy slob or an incompetent idiot because you’re getting killed by all the stuff on your plate is not constructive. You need to see that you have limits.
When I was still involved in private practice, I used to tell people to write down a list of all their obligations and then dump a third of them. You should do the same. Arrange all the things you need to do into a hierarchy of least to most important, and then dump the ones that are least important.
In addition, there are techniques you can use to train your brain to stress less. For example, many athletes have trainers who help them respond quickly in stressful situations. They teach them to focus under pressure, and even more importantly, how to recover from stress-induced errors. Their trainers also teach them the importance of shutting down so that they don’t carry their stress around with them all day and night. The same thing goes for soldiers training for battle. The more combat situations they face, the more familiar they become with handling the stress and the more control they have over their reactions.
Training your brain to deal with stress is difficult, but it can be done. Here are a number of ways you can start reducing your stress levels.