How to solve the stressful equations of life?
Rather like a stack of dominoes, once the bankers of Wall Street unleashed their economic ills onto an uncertain world, piece by piece, the world's economy started to collapse. Eventually, the unstoppable force reached the common man. But there were considerable knock-on effects on individuals, resulting in mounting stress levels.
Living in such unpredictable times evokes feelings of anxiety or even fear. There is a solution within each of us, but none of us knows what we're capable of until a crisis hits.
A few years ago it was quite normal for families with two high earners to feel confident in the security of their jobs. However, all that has now changed. Redundancies loom large and behind many suburban net curtains, individual crises are gathering strength. Many are petrified for the future because until now job security was taken for granted. No longer.
It is clear that people must readjust according to the changed circumstances. One solution is for the earner with the most relevant skills for today's market to find, perhaps, some freelance work to tide the family over - giving the other more time perhaps to look after the children. For some, life has even improved with their changed circumstances. They may have had to ‘tighten their belts' more than in the past, but a new sense of family contentment has evolved with the freeing-up of space for one another.
After years of ‘buy now, pay later' spending, life for many families last autumn changed out of all recognition, with no guarantee of what the future may hold. There is uncertainty everywhere. You can see it on the faces in the street. We're all affected much more because we know we're all in it together, making the changes feel even bigger and more out of control. It is emotionally contagious. However, it's crucial to remember that older family members have lived through times like these before; they survived and, paradoxically, may even have thrived during difficult times - and we can too.
What doesn't help is the saturation media coverage. Everyone should limit themselves to watching the news just once a day. Don't listen over and over again to those channels that repeat the news every fifteen minutes - it is psychologically unhealthy, leading us ultimately to close down opportunities altogether for fear of risk.
In situations like these, there is absolutely no point in harbouring a deep sense of anger - however justified. What you need to do is channel all that energy into positive action. If you feel you can make a difference, then complain via the media, start a campaign, move your bank accounts or take steps to live a more environmentally responsible life.
And what about our children? We transmit our anxieties and irrational fears about the world to them. But children have a much simpler view of the world. They need to explore uncertainty for themselves. We can do this by allowing them more peer-to-peer relationships and time outside the home for longer and at a younger age.
When we're feeling stressed we focus solely on the negatives, what we don't have, what we've lost. The way out of this is to close your eyes and picture wonderful times from the past - times when you were surrounded by people and things that still exist. Use this wonderful feeling when you picture your future. This will help you focus on what you haven't lost, what you still have and what you can do. Once you've reset your thinking you can start taking action and moving forward again, regaining a sense of productivity and confidence. Look at your finances - perhaps make a financial plan and stick to it, making you feel in control.
Above all, ask yourself how you are coping with the stress. Are you drinking too much? How are you treating your partner? Could your fear about losing your job be bound up closely with your own identity? If this is the case, maybe it's time to redress the balance.'
When feeling vulnerable we tend to ‘invent' rejection and inadequacy in order to avoid any further shock or trauma. So your partner may be seeing slights where there are none. Learn to empathise with one another - avoid criticising or judging.
The stressful equations of life:
Yes, Uncertain Times + Uncertain Income = Stress
Stress + Channelling Your Energies More Productively = Contentment