As you grow older, there are unfortunately more things we begin to worry about. Bills, taxes, kids, education, our homes, life in general and even what to do after we pass.
Life can be daunting, but in the end, it’s just life. We all go through it.
You have the power to make the best of your life and the situations that you happen to find yourself in. Unfortunately, no one is completely immune to stressful situations, but there are countless avenues you can exhaust to keep you from feeling completely overwhelmed.
Let’s check out my 5 essentials to help you avoid stress.
Acceptance of Life
Life is both a wonderful and strange endeavor. There will be periods where everything is going your way, you’re having a good time and it seems like it will last forever. However, there will be other periods where you feel like nothing is going your way and that it’s only happening to you.
Rest assured, a sign of a fully realized life is a life with high ups and low downs. Accepting life for what it is will only make your life that much easier. Being slow to anger when things don’t go your way is a powerful mindset to have.
Getting angry is easy, and this is why so many of us do it. Yet, staying angry and upset is something that does us more harm than good in the end.
Having a present mindset can help alleviate any stress you may have in your life. Being present in the now can be easier said than done, but it can, in fact, be done.
It’s been said that if you have anxiety about things you wish you could have done, you’re stuck living in the past. If you have anxiety about things that haven’t even happened yet, you’re too busy worrying yourself about the future.
Living in the now and addressing things that you have power over at this very moment keeps you from wasting time and energy on things you can’t change. There are many things you can do to maintain a stress-free life but there are also many things you can do to prepare yourself for moments that are not as enjoyable.
Allowing yourself to roll with the punches of life is a great first step. Taking care of your health is the next great step.
Make an Effort to be Healthy
As the old saying goes, “Health is wealth.” Without it, life can be incredibly challenging in many different ways. So if you have good health, do not take that for granted.
There are so many people in this world who do not have that same fortune. Instead of going wild and wasting it away, you should make a solid effort to maintain your level of health for years to come. No one lives forever, but making those years as comfortable as you can for yourself is what truly counts.
Enjoy everything in moderation. This especially goes for things like alcohol, nicotine, and large amounts of caffeine. Alcohol is a depressant when you drink large amounts and it only acts as a stimulant for a very short period of time, so drinking to excess is never great for your health.
Years of binge drinking can lead to liver damage and a variety of cancers and painful health complications down the road. Every once in awhile it’s a good idea to take a break.
Again, it’s about moderation, not complete abstention. Have a simple fruit juice or an artisanal soda instead of an extra-large beer or that second cocktail at happy hour.
Your body and mind will appreciate the extra hydration. Don’t feel obligated to attend every single happy hour that you’re invited to. Saying no every once in awhile signals the fact that substances don’t have control over you and your life.
The same mindset applies to food. Moderate the amount of refined and processed food you consume. Highly processed foods have a high amount of sugar, even foods that you may not necessarily associate with sugar such as bread and salad dressing.
These kinds of food can be delicious, yet, can also cause weight gain, energy crashes, and even irritability. Make it a point to have a healthy variety in what you eat.
Be Active With Friends and Family
Friends and family are perhaps the most important aspects in life. Having a loved one that you can count on during stressful times can help turn a negative situation into one that is manageable.
No matter how busy you get, make time to have a meal with your family. It doesn’t have to be anything particularly grand or fancy, but make it a point to spend a considerable amount of time with them.
Haven’t spoken to a friend in a while? Call them. Invite them to dinner too, or go out for a drink. Invite them to events so that you can have time to catch up in a relaxed social setting. Make space in your life for them.
In addition to the niceties of simply being around people you love, you can ask them for help during difficult times. If you are going through difficult times, you should know that you don’t have to carry your burden all alone.
Ask for advice from friends who may have gone through similar situations. Or you could simply have them as a personal confidant that you can vent your frustrations to. Simply talking out your problems rather than playing them over and over in your own head helps you problem solve, and therefore, you can come up with solutions together.
Strive for Financial Stability
Money is certainly not everything in life. However, having a strong understanding of money and a firm grasp on your finances can make your life that much easier. Knowing that you are secure financially speaking takes the stress out of your life knowing that bills are paid for, you and your loved ones are insured and that you are covered financially in the event of any kind of emergency.
You can learn the basics such as managing a budget for everyday life or learning about various ways to prepare for an emergency. Again, money is not what life is all about. But it is important to be mindful of your finances. Having a safety net in place can only help, and it will be one less thing for you to worry about.
If money is a main point of stress, you can reach out for help. Perhaps you’ve run up your credit card bill, or maybe you’re behind on filing your taxes, or maybe you took a chance on an investment that unfortunately didn’t pan out the way you hoped.
Consider working with a professional, such as a Certified Financial PlannerⓇ, who will always put your financial interests first. There’s no shame in asking for help in any area of life, especially when it comes to money. Having a second opinion about your finances can make a world of difference.
Practice Gratitude on a Daily Basis
In bringing this list full circle back to the first point, practicing gratitude is distinctly linked to accepting your reality for what it is. Meeting a negative situation with a positive mindset is powerful.
Meeting a negative situation with a negative mindset only adds to your stress level. The first step in handling something difficult is to gain power over it, and practicing a sense of mindful gratitude.
Realize that your current state might not be ideal, but also realize that many other people in this world deal with similar if not worse scenarios. You are not alone. Stress is also a sign of a healthy mind.
Stress is an indicator that you care about things happening around you. Your concern is a signal that you are alive and that you are in a sound state of mind in relation to your surroundings. Be grateful for that. Be grateful that you are alive and have the power to change your situation.
This is a post from Clint Haynes, a Certified Financial Planner® and Financial Advisor in Kansas City, Missouri. He is also the founder and owner of NextGen Wealth. You can learn more about Clint at his website NextGen Wealth.
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders and lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels with the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs. He blogs at Think Save Retire.