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Stress by Mind Map: Stress
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Financial Stress and How to Plan Against It

I receive many emails each day from people who have had some kind of financial crisis. Most of these stories have a great many factors in common with each other, although the specifics can vary wildly. Here are some of the specific elements many of the stories share. Something unexpected happened. Life was going along seemingly well until something happened. A job loss. An illness. A pay cut. A credit card cancellation. A car failure. Something triggers a big financial downturn. You were operating without some type of financial safety net. The person in question often isn’t prepared for this unexpected financial downturn. They don’t have the resources on hand to deal with it. Things you thought you could rely on weren’t as reliable as you expected them to be. The person doesn’t have credit available that they expected. Friends and family they believed would help them out didn’t come through. The landlord wasn’t as forgiving as they expected he would be. You didn’t respond in the best way when the crisis first happened. Your first response to the crisis was often to either stick your head in the sand or to make another immediate financial mistake, such as putting the car repair bill on a credit card. Often, there are a sequence of small errors following the unexpected event. The situation now seems unescapable. You’ve gone from where you were at before the unexpected event to a situation that now seems unescapable. For me, the unexpected event was Sarah getting pregnant. The immediate bad move we made was to spend way too much money preparing for the baby. Obviously, if I could roll the clock back to 2004, I’d do everything I could to prevent myself from rolling down that financial hill. Luckily, there are things people can address to take care of virtually every point of this story. Have a plan What exactly would you do if you lost your job today? What would you do if your car wouldn’t start today and needed a $3,000 repair? What would you do if you found out you had cancer today? Do you have a plan? Or would you just panic? It is much easier for people to imagine that their future is bright and perfect. I’ll always be healthy. I’ll always be able to work. I’ll always be able to go out and start that car and go wherever I want to go. It’s never fun to think about failure, but spending some time thinking about these events right now when your mind is rational and you can conceive of rational plans to deal with them is far better than addressing them for the first time in a panic.

Stress and Overspending

Lately, I’ve been under a lot of stress – perhaps the highest level of stress I’ve been under since switching to a full-time writing career. I’m in absolute crunch mode with my second book, with a manuscript due in a few days. I’ve also been slowly moving into public speaking – and I certainly get a healthy amount of stage nervousness. There have been multiple medical issues with my family (two different child illnesses, plus an issue with my wife that I’ll post about in great detail later this week). There have been several family-related demands lately as well. Add that all together – plus the usual issues with a busy household with two young kids – and I’m feeling the stress. I’ve not had time as of late to exercise with all of the demands on me, either, which is something that really has been useful over the last year for keeping me energetic. One major thing I’ve noticed is how this has all directly affected my personal choices when it comes to spending. To put it simply, I’ve been more tempted than I have been in a long time to spend money without really thinking about it. In fact, just a few weeks ago, I wrote about one experience along those lines. I’m not alone in noticing this phenomenon. In this article on MoneyCentral about stress and spending, the author makes the astute point that we often spend to relieve stress in the short term, but it adds up to additional stress in the long term. I’ll absolutely agree with part of that. Overspending today will unquestionably lead to more stress in the long term. If you spend money today on something purely impulsive, you won’t have money to spend tomorrow on something genuinely important to you. That $30 impulse buy today means you stay in debt for a little longer and pay a little bit more interest along the way. However, I think there are at least two more connections between stress and spending not addressed in that article that I’ve noticed in my own behavior. First, when you’re stressed, you’re simply not as mindful as you might otherwise be. Normally, when I’m in a buying situation, I’m pretty mindful of the situation. I recognize the temptations around me and the subtle cues I’m being fed to buy more than I should. When I’m stressed, though, I’m distracted. Stress is caused by something that’s on your mind, sapping away at your consciousness. When that happens, those subtle buying cues become radically more effective. Instead of rationally looking at the situations you’re in, you look at it with less than your full attention – and those subtle little cues take over. Second, stress pulls you away from those important to you, and sometimes you overcompensate. While finishing up my manuscript and rushing to make my deadline, I’ve found myself working into the wee small hours of the night many nights. This leaves me exhausted the next morning – and I recognize that I’m not quite as “there” for my children as I normally am in the morning. Then, when my son, who’s been wonderful through all of this, will innocently turn to me and ask, “Dad… can we go bowling?” or something similar, and that perfectly plays on my desire to do fun things with my children combined directly with my sense that I’ve not been doing quite as well as I have been lately. The end result? I’m far, far more susceptible to saying “Sure!” and going bowling than I would be under less stress. To put it simply, a higher stress level makes it more likely that you’ll spend unnecessarily. Thus, the reverse is true: if you can reduce your stress level, it’s likely that you’ll also reduce the prevalence of frivolous spending in your life. Having said that, here are the five stress-reduction techniques that work best for me.

15 Low Cost Ways to Beat Stress

Emotional spending and expensive junk food binges -- budget busters -- are often triggered by stress. Here are a few ideas for diminishing stress without spending a lot of money.

How to Manage Financial Stress

Whether it is from the latest news on Wall Street (the DOW is down another 400 points as I write this), or the pile of bills stacked on kitchen table, economic stress is something that must be managed or it can lead to serious issues. I remember just a few years ago I was deep in debt, and often spent sleepless nights worrying over our bills. I wanted desperately for there to be an instant fix, but deep down I knew it would take many months of hard work and discipline to get out of debt. At one point in particular, when a family member was dealt a serious health blow, and the financial collapse was well underway in late 2008, I had just about given up hope of ever being debt free, of ever having savings, and ever realizing financial peace. Fortunately, we persevered and we eventually reached the debt freedom we so desired. I was right; it did take many, many months and a lot of long days, but it is so worth it. During that time of economic despair, I thought a lot of bad thoughts. I won’t get into specifics, but you can imagine for yourself what someone with a wife and two kids and a pile of debt might be feeling. There were many sleepless nights. I managed to keep a somewhat positive perspective by tracking my debt level each month. Every month I saw that number go down was a win. Every month I saw a rise in my debt I tried that much harder to make a dent the next month. I began to look forward to pay days because it was another opportunity to knock out some debt. I began to look forward to extra work because it increased my income, and provided a chance to knock out some debt. I started tuning out the naysayers. I ignored people out there who said being in debt was normal, that everyone had a car payment, that everyone had to borrow money to finish school, and that everyone used credit cards.

7 Causes of Financial Stress

In the medical industry, a pandemic is described as a widespread outbreak of an infectious disease over a wide geographical area. In the financial world, I think we have a serious pandemic that is causing people to have serious financial problems and stress. A lot of people are stressed and one of the biggest causes of that stress comes from money. So what’s causing all this stress?


How to Manage Career Transition Stress

There’s no two ways about it. No matter what the reason for the change, the career transition process can be stressful. When my former company shut down, I had been there for 5 years.  I woke up one day with nowhere to go.  This period of “limbo” was great for a short while.  It was an unexpected opportunity to finally relax and enjoy not having somewhere to be everyday at 7:00 am.  I travelled, caught up with old friends and colleagues.  Oh, and I planned my wedding. Suffice it to say, the transition was challenging and tested my strength.  Regardless of your situation, there are several strategies that may be helpful in the midst of your stress and potential job-search anxiety.

How to Use Motivation to Let Go of Stress

The most common question I receive when coaching people is how to sustain motivation and how to let go of stress. “How do you stay motivated after the initial rush of inspiration has faded and the hard work begins?” “I have so much to do today, how can I not be stressed?” Without motivation, producing quality results is near impossible. With motivation you can accomplish extra-ordinary things and become hugely successful. I have had times when I have barely been able to get myself out of bed, because I didn’t feel as though I had a reason to get up. I have been through times when I can’t sleep because there is so much fun to do! Motivation comes and goes, but there are a lot of things we can do to keep it for a longer time and keep the lowest levels of motivation from getting too low.

20 Tips for Batching to Save Time and Cut Stress

I’m batching right now. Although my articles appear almost daily on this website, I only write twice a week. This is my third article today. I was batching this morning too, when I did all my daily e-mail, RSS, website maintenance, comment-handling and inbox dumping over one 30 minute period. I’m a huge fan of batching because it saves time and makes life simpler at the same time. Instead of scrambling to write an article each day or check my e-mail constantly, I batch. I’m going to show you how you can batch in your life.

Stressed Sleep: How to Stop Stressing About Work at Night

One of the most common reasons that Americans give when asked why they can’t sleep is that they are stressing about work. We lay awake all night thinking about deadlines, important meetings and pay checks. And when this post on waking up fresh became popular I realized that a lot of people were having trouble with their sleep. In this post I want to look at some basic strategies you can use to stop stressing about work when you are trying to sleep.

How to Reduce Stress and Get More Done by Turning a Project into a Habit

One of my first posts when I started the Willpower Engine site was about the two uses of self-motivation: acquiring habits and getting projects done. What has become clear recently is that projects can and sometimes should be treated as habits to acquire. There are two main reasons to do this: first, the habit approach can relieve a lot of stress, and second, the habit approach can be very productive.

19 Battlefield Tips to Survive Stress at Work

We’ve all fallen victim to workplace stress at one time or another. And some of us probably even called in sick because of a stress-related illness. Turns out that anxiety, stress and neurotic disorder cases are involved in the highest amount of long-term work loss, according to the Center for Disease Control. More than half of workers report working under stress, according to a recent survey. This comes as no surprise, we are all too familiar with growing job dissatisfaction, heavy workloads, poor work/life balance and no mandatory vacation time. So arm yourself with these stress-busters and survive stress at work.


10 Ways to Reduce Stress in Relationship

Everyone must have ever been under stress relating to either career, social or household affairs. Gratefully, good communication and self management can remove the stress occurring in marriage life. No free time, office job strains, kids’ nuisances, bills to pay, never ending house chores. They all sound too familiar, don’t they? Stress haunts you in everything you do, and can affect your feeling anytime. The way you communicate proves to be greatly influential. At one moment you are a calm person with no stress, but you can change drastically whenever pressure descends hard upon you. When under stress you usually think too hasty along with the accompanying depressed mood. Sometimes it sooner makes you get angry with anyone directly in your contact, and this reasonably serves as a stress relief. Most times even the people you love are regardlessly subjected to your anger as well. They can be your spouse and even your loving children. They unfairly must share your anger as they are the ones you come to at the end of the day and keep you company. So don’t let the pressure burdening you harm your family’s harmony in anyway. For the sake of your loved ones you must learn how to handle your stress positively. There are some tricks for this purpose which can help you, in moments of stress, avoid any conflict with your spouse.

Relationship Stress

I will be helping you to manage your relationship stress, whether or not it is caused by problems in your relationship or by external sources. Relationship stress can be caused by a drip-drip effect of, for example, never-ending criticism, shouting, arguments, abuse, etc.  It can also come about as a result of a crisis, such as an affair, illness, the death of a loved one or other family problems. Avoiding issues can provide temporary relief, but they may lead to long-term trouble. Stress, whether from inside or outside your relationship/marriage, is likely to affect the way you think, feel and behave.  This invariably impacts on your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend - it becomes a vicious circle.  I am sure you are aware that there are physical consequences - the impact of stress can make you ill. If this page does not provide you want you are looking for, then scroll down to the bottom of the page for links to related pages. Alternatively, if it definitely is your relationship that is needs sorting, than I recommend: Save My Marriage/Relationship.  Even if your partner doesn"t appear to be interested right now - you can make a difference, all by yourself. Be aware: Lee Baucom PhD doesn"t have much time for poorly trained couple counsellors.  However, I am glad to report that I have received the best training and am fully qualified with the most prestigious couple counselling agency in the UK: RELATE, where the focus was definitely not just on communication. However, if you think that your partner is causing you just too much stress, always has done and always will do, then you may be wondering how long you can carry on in this relationship. If you are doubting your relationship or are not sure that you can remain married, then I would advice you to do my relationship test.  You will find a way forward, either by discovering the things you may be able to improve or by realising that there is no longer a future for your relationship/marriage. If by any chance your partner/spouse may be getting ready to leave you, you need to prepare yourself now.  Should you find yourself having to deal with that situation, at least you won"t make a fool of yourself and/or scupper any chance of the two of you getting back together again.  Youll find out exactly how to do that on my page about getting your ex back.

Top 7 Tips for Having Stress Free Relationships

One of the greatest sources of stress is relationships stress - when our relationships aren"t working right, when there are stressful emotions flying about, and we are not being supported or even feel under attack by our loved ones, all other forms of stress double up as well. Here are the 7 top tips to keep relationships stress free - simple, but profoundly helpful in all relationships.

Learn How to Reduce Relationship Stress

Reducing relationship stress is easier when we follow a few simple guidelines. Learn how to increase harmony and cooperation in family life. We’ve been married over 35 years and most of it has been quite happy. So based on our experience, here are some ways to reduce family and relationship stress:

11 Ways to Decrease Relationship Stress

Stress has an insidious way of undermining every aspect of our health and happiness. Nowhere is this more obvious then in our closest and most valued relationships. Have the anxieties and pressures of daily life or a constricting economy begun to seep into your home life? When we are stressed out, we need to feel that our home is a safe haven where we can find relief and comfort. A happy relationship can make all the difference during challenging times. Sadly, more and more couples are experiencing the divisive influence of outside stress in their relationship with their mate. Are there steps we can take to protect the happiness of our relationship during trying times? When the pressure rises, is there some way for couples to actually draw closer rather than allowing their relationship to be torn apart? Handled correctly, challenging experiences can actually bring couples closer together. This is not to say that they will be immune to the stress. What it means is that working together and facing their challenges as a unified partnership can deepen their bond and add new depth to their relationship.

Dealing with Relationship Stress

Often the problem will be with us and we can be very defensive in our own natural protection by assuming the problem is because of someone or something else. Whether the "stress" is coming from a conflict with your spouse, your parents, children, friends, co-workers, employees, boss or even a total stranger, the secret is how to deal with it.  We often do not see the role we play in any conflict that may be causing stress, it could come from hidden conversations or just actions or patterns that we have. But in coping with relationship stress we need to consider all the possibilities and deal the the problem. The point is we need to be able to look at our personal contribution on how we contribute to any stressful situation within a relationship.


50 Tricks to Study Better, Faster and with Less Stress

Studying isn’t one task, it’s many. You may need to memorize facts or just understand the basics. You might need a broad conceptual base, or just skills. To add even more variety, each person has different learning styles and preferences. No one tool is the right one. But with fifty here, you’re bound to find something that might help.


The Phenomenal Benefits of a Mental Sanctuary (and how to create one)

Have you ever wanted the ability to re-center yourself after a significant shock? Or wanted to be able to create and sustain a calmness of mind and body in the midst of immense stress? One way to achieve these results is with a mental sanctuary. Most of us have heard “go to your happy place” at one time or another. For most people, their happy place is a memory or mental image of somewhere pleasant and safe, such as a secluded beach, a mountaintop vista, or their grandmother’s kitchen. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with these happy place images, because they’re effective for their owners. But, a mental sanctuary is so much more than a simple image, and has many more benefits. They also take time to create effectively. I have been building mine for over 25 years, and they have grown richly detailed (and all the more effective for it). Don’t worry, though! I’m going to tell you how to create an effective mental sanctuary in just a few minutes. Then, the more you use it, the better it becomes.

How Mindful Walking Can Help You Relax

We all know the benefits of relaxation, but it can be hard work slowing down a busy head and getting to the point of really feeling relaxed. Walking meditation is a beautiful way to integrate gentle movement with awareness. In a similar way to the practice of yoga or qigong, mindful walking draws our busy mind away from external obligations and distractions and leads it to focus on the gentle activity we are performing with our body. This simple practice helps the mind settle and become more peaceful as it is kept occupied in away that draws it"s energy inward where it can rest and reflect. In a way this is a literal act in "reigning your mind in" and it"s surprisingly effective. You can practice mindful walking anywhere and any time you want to. You can practice indoors or outside, all you need is somewhere where you can walk peacefully and undisturbed for a few minutes.

The 5 Best Techniques to Control and Calm Your Mind

What is the biggest obstacle most people face in achieving personal mastery? Your mind; your thoughts. When you master your mind, everything else begins to fall into place. But the moment we look at our mind, we begin to see how wild it is. Modern psychology estimates that we have 40 to 60 thousand thoughts a day, and most of them are repetitious, useless – and often, unhappy. In my quest to control our monkey mind, I’ve taken from the best systems – from modern Cognitive Psychology, to the ancient spiritual systems – in particular, the Buddhist Sutra on the Removal of Distracting Thoughts. Here are the results – five levels, arranged according to how unruly your thoughts are. First a warning – it is easy to get anxious and jump ahead to the more advanced levels, thinking that your mind is wilder than it really is. Please don’t, and give each level an earnest effort over a few days.

How to Become a Relaxation Ninja

“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.” George F. Burns “Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” Ovid As you know, stress is no good or fun for you. But what can one do to decrease the amount of negative stress in his or her life? Here are 36 suggestions. You may not want to try them all right now. That would just add to your stress. Try a few of them out and see what works for you. I’ve put ten of the tips that I think may be most useful at the top of the list.

4 Personally Proven Steps to Become a Calmer Person

I love weekends. Why?  I can wake up and just spend a few minutes lying awake without the need to do anything. No need to rush to work, or to speak to anyone. Just lying there with eyes wide open and nothing in mind. I realized then that those are some of the calmest moment in my life. It has always been a personal mission for me to be calm in every thing I do. I believe it will allow us to make better decisions, to be more focused and ultimately to live a stress-free life. Here’s what I’ve done so far that has actually worked:

5 Ways to be Calm Under Pressure

Do you need some ways to be calm? Those that stay calm under pressure perform the best.  They make the best decisions and therefore achieve the most success. Our world is full of reasons to worry and panic.  However, neither of these mental states help one to survive and thrive in life. It is therefore key that we identify and embrace ways to be calm.

5 Scientifically Proven Relaxation Techniques

Everyone gets anxious from time to time: there"s public speaking, job interviews, the dentist and all the rest. For about one in six of us this will cross over into what psychologists term a disorder at some point in our lives. This is when people are almost continuously anxious and find it difficult to concentrate, have trouble sleeping and become irritable and restless. Women are roughly twice as likely as men to suffer from an anxiety disorder. For the rest of us anxiety will come and go as part of the normal human condition. Whether it"s a constant or occasional affliction, dealing with anxiety effectively is important. People are often prescribed drugs for anxiety but these are less effective in the long-term and have side-effects so relaxation training is often preferred.

100 Ways to Relax, Unwind and Loosen Up

Over the last few weeks I have really been struggling to relax and unwind at the end of the day. My stress levels have been high and my sleep has been restless. Following the massive popularity of my eBook Enlightening Stress Relief I realized that so many of us are struggling to relax. For this reason I have compiled the ultimate list of ways to relax, unwind and loosen up before, during and after work. Enjoy!

15 Ways to Relax and Rejuvenate Your Body

Do you have a sore back and stiff neck after only a few hours at work? Does the rush to meet deadlines, constant talking on the phone or finishing off reports seem to wear you down hour by hour? Then maybe it’s time to relax for a few moments over the course of each day. Stress seems to have become a constant factor in today’s fast-paced society. If left unchecked, it can wreak havoc upon our health. Learning how to effectively manage stress can mean the difference between being robust and full of life, or becoming susceptible to illness and disease. Stress can weaken the immune system and accelerate the aging process. The ability to relax and rejuvenate promotes wellness, vitality and longevity. A healthy immune system regulates our body’s healing process and protects it against infections and diseases. When stress compromises our immune function, it can result in colds, flu, fatigue, cardiovascular disorders and premature aging. Stress increases heart rate, blood pressure, glucose levels, adrenaline, cortisol, free radicals and oxidative damage. This initiates the “fight or flight” response, places undue strain upon the heart, and can also increase the feelings of anxiety and depression. Protecting the immune system is a vital part of living longer, feeling younger and being healthy. Here are fifteen ways to reduce stress and relax your body:

11 Sure-Fire Ways to Have a Calm and Peaceful Mind

The fast pace of the modern world may put our mind in chaotic state. Information comes and goes, we must do this and do that. There are simply too many things that reside in our mind. While it may cause stress or even depression, at the very least it puts us away from a peaceful state of mind. But a peaceful mind is essential for our effectiveness. It keeps us calm no matter how the situation is, and it allows us to stay joyful during the day. At the end of the day, it makes us happier and more productive. So here I’d like to share 11 ways to have a “mind like water”, a state of mind so peaceful that it’s like a calm water. Pick the ones that work for you:

5 of the Best 30 Second Relaxation Practices

Value your time, by appreciating the huge potential your next 30 seconds has.  I regularly add thirty second breaks into my day to stop, breath, soften my body and adjust my thinking.  It’s a very simple way to add lots of little healthy  relaxation practices into the day.   All you need, is the co-operation of your mind, body and breath, to enjoy, and achieve,  30 seconds of relaxation. Thirty seconds is not a demanding amount of time.  It requires minimum effort, very little concentration power and doesn’t need to be scheduled into your diary. A thirty seconds relaxation practice is very do-able – anywhere, anytime.  The shower, the car, before you get out of bed, or especially when you are waiting in a queue. It’s a very portable and flexible relaxation habit – perfect for a super busy lifestyle.

30 Ways to Slow Down and Relax Like a Cat

Have you ever had a weekend, holiday, or lazy sick-day where your main intention was to relax, but you just couldn’t get your bang for the buck? Productive people often have trouble relaxing, because they’ve cultivated the Go-Habit. Don’t worry, by the time we’re done here, even your cat will be jealous! Being able to relax is very important to regain our energy levels, concentration, and get us ready to be even more productive than before. Alas, many people push themselves after they’re tired and out of juice, which ultimately makes them less productive. A timely time-out pays productivity dividends.

Created by

Adam Sicinski