America is one of the wealthiest countries but also one of the most stressed out. According to Gallup’s 2019 Global Emotions Report, 55% of Americans feel stressed for much of each day. Americans were even more stressed out than the country of Chad, which is identified as having one of the saddest populations in the world. As Gallup editor Julie Ray noted, “Even as their economy roared, more Americans were stressed, angry and worried last year than they have been at most points in the past decade.” Here are five actions to help you move from stressed to satisfied.
1. Invest in friendship.
It isn’t a surprise that stress and anxiety have exploded in the United States as Americans claim to feel increasingly disconnected and to be lacking close friendships. Loneliness is brutal. Life is far easier to manage when we have others with us on the journey. Here is the formula: isolation is deadly, but relational connection is energizing. Invest in friendships to help minimize the impact of stress.
2. See beyond your circumstances.
When we only focus on what is immediately in front of us, we can sometimes lose perspective and begin to think it will never pass or get better. In other words, winter sometimes feels like the season that will never end! Stress can be reduced by keeping your circumstances in perspective and seeing beyond them to a hopeful future.
3. Take baby steps in your health.
I know. I get tired of hearing this too – eat better, walk more, go to the gym, lose weight, etc. But the truth is that we handle stress better when we feel better. Our brains are in a better place and our endurance is strengthened. You do not need to be the next Olympic athlete, but even baby steps towards a healthier life make a difference.
4. Hang out with positive people.
If you want to feel negative, depressed, and cynical, just spend more time with negative people. But if you want to feel better, circle yourself with those that have a more positive outlook on life. I’m not talking about the fake happy people but rather those who genuinely live lives of hope and optimism.
5. Embrace contentment.
How do you become content? By choosing to be. No pill will provide it, and no therapist will impart it. Contentment is a choice we make to appreciate what we have, reduce our time comparing ourselves with others, and show appreciation for what we have more than what we are missing.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Jay Desko is the Executive Director of The Center Consulting Group and serves on the Senior Leadership Team at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Jay brings experience in the areas of organizational assessment, leadership coaching, decision-making, and strategic questioning. Jay’s degrees include an M.Ed. in Instructional Systems Design from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership from The Union Institute.