Appreciation, Despite Stress

There is a lot going on in our world today.  Americans are caught in the rat race.  They are living the American dream by buying expensive homes (which are expensive to keep up), working stressful jobs, getting stuck in traffic, and, for many, accumulating debt.  Even if you don't fit this profile, you probably have a lot of stress to deal with in life.  I come across more people with a lot of stress than those without.

I think it is important to sometimes take a moment and step back.  If you and your family have your health, a roof over your head, and you have food on the table, then you should say your blessings.  This has not been the norm throughout history and it is still not the norm in some places on earth.

If you watch the news and see what is going on in the world, there is a lot to be stressed out about.  And there is no doubt that the economy is in rough shape.  I also believe that things are going to get worse before they get better.  But again, if you have your basic needs met, then you should acknowledge this so that nothing else seems so bad.

We often stress out over little things when there are bigger things to worry about.  Even some of the big things are probably not really that big when put into perspective.  It is important to remind ourselves that we shouldn't sweat the small stuff.  If you are worried about something that will have little effect on your life a year from now (if you can even remember it), then it probably isn't worth worrying about it.  That isn't to say that you should blow things off.  It is just to say that you shouldn't stress yourself out about it.

If you are having trouble paying your bills (which seems to be a major stress for many), then step back and appreciate what you have first.  Then you should take active steps to improve your situation.  While taking on a second job sounds stressful, perhaps it would be less stressful than worrying about money.  And it doesn't have to be a long term thing.

To be realistic in life, you should also consider bad scenarios that are possible, even if not highly probable.  For example, consider the possibility of a job loss.  I don't recommend stressing out about this, but you should plan for such a scenario in having a backup plan.  Again, take action steps that could help to improve your situation.  This might mean gaining a new skill or it might mean cutting a few expenses so that a pay cut would not be too dramatic for you.  And to not get too stressed, you should also realize that it won't be the end of the world.  You could always move into a smaller place or cut back on other expenses.

Just remember that if you have your health and you can provide for yourself and your family, then everything else is mostly peripheral.  In the face of pessimism, appreciate the things you have, even if your life can be stressful at times.