Many of us have become used to the constant onslaught on responsibilities, information, and advertisements that we are living with a constant level of stress. We have obligations to our creditors, husbands, wifes, children, and bosses. With all of these obligations our minds are constantly occupied. Maybe not enough to overwhelm you but enough to reduce your ability to truly think. Your creativity is stifled and your problem solving is reduced and you are not able to give your loved ones their full share of you because you are spread so thin. You are limited in the things you can do because of all of these obligations.
This is something we all need to work on. You may think that this level of stress is the way it is and you can do nothing about it. I dare you to draw a line in the sand and say “I am going to do something about this stress.” There are only a handful of ways to reduce this stress which includes eliminating your obligations and learning to manage your obligations (you are always going to have obligations tugging at you unless you are dead.
First, you need to eliminate some of the obligations. One of the main obligations that is stressing Americans is debt. I know a lot of you will argue with me that debt is a tool and it helps you build wealth. It may (I think there are better ways), but I believe that it increases your level of stress and obligation. If you use debt to make money then you are not in control of the situation. You are tethered by the market and the whims of others and you have to pay others to make this money. If you eliminated all of your debt then you would be in better control of your money and feeling in control always eliminates stress. Also, if you had an emergency fund piled up then you would not be stressed out about losing your job. Heck, if you were asked to do something at work that you did not agree with or did not align with your family goals (working extra which would take time from your family) you could very comfortably tell your boss NO. Many of you reading this may not believe me but we have forgotten that we are all emotional creatures no matter how calculating you are. I challenge you to find someone that is debt free and ask them the difference it makes in their lives.
Besides debt, what other unneeded obligations do you have that are stressing you out that you believe you did need.
The next part of stress elimination is learning to manage all of your obligations. You need to realize that you will always have more on your plate then you could ever accomplish, especially if you are a highly productive person. The main part of this equation is understand where you want to be in the future (goal setting). Once you have set your goals you can begin to say NO (you have to get very comfortable with NO through out this whole process) to the things that do not help you to reach your goals. I do understand that there are things that you have to do that are not directly related to your goals (like chores) but this first step will help unclutter your to-do list. The next step is to find a system to manage all of your obligations. I am not going to walk you through the process because different systems work for different people. The one I am partial to is Getting Things Done by David Allen. This is the system I use to keep all of my obligations from overwhelming me. Please check this out or another program.
This is going to be a never ending process because the more you get done the more you will want to get done. But this process does not need to stress you out. You need to learn how to manage your obligations thus your stress will be eliminated. Then you can solve more problems, be happier, get more accomplished, have more control in your life, be more creative, and give more of you to your loved ones.