Dealing With Stress Part 1 – Friends and Perspective
As much as we would all love to live in a world where problems don’t exist and life is just one big feel good movie, unfortunately life just isn’t like that, at least not all of the time. Sometimes life can get tough for every single one of us. If anyone out there feels that they have never been in a tough spot then I’d have to ask you if your name is Truman Burbank (The Truman Show) or question whether you’ve been living in a dream for the past however many years. Life can get tough and many people have real difficulty dealing with the stress hard times can bring. So how can we deal with stress? Be it emotional, physical or financial?
We’ll start here by looking at how we can deal with emotional stress by confiding in friends and gaining some perspective. After all, if our emotions are in a bad way then it can often lead our finances down the same path, so I think it’s worth discussing on this blog.
Don’t be afraid to share
I don’t know if you have noticed this but when it comes to emotional trials there are generally two types of people, those who love to talk about it and those who don’t. Personally I fall into the latter of these two categories. When it comes to problems, I naturally tend to keep things in, not wanting to burden others with them because I feel sure that they have enough problems of their own to deal with. Fortunately I’ve learned over the years that this is just not healthy. The whole reason that we build strong friendships and relationships with people is because we want to share important thoughts and moments with them, it took me a long time to realize that this applies to both the good times and the bad. I’ve also found that sharing tough times with friends can foster much more meaningful relationships than only sharing the good times with them ever could. If one of your good friends was going through a really tough time, would you want them to talk to you about it? I’m guessing you would. Well there’s a very good chance that they feel the same way about you, they may even be upset if you didn’t confide in them.
Of course, we have to have balance. Have you ever had a friend who only ever seems to have a negative take on life? As much as you want to be there for that person, if all you ever receive are negative thoughts and feelings from a person then it can make it difficult to enjoy the friendship, can’t it? On the same note, we need to make sure that our friendships don’t unintentionally become one-sided affairs. It can be good to ask ourselves from time to time, how much do I listen to my friend’s problems in comparison to how much I talk about my own, or when was the last time I genuinely asked my friends how they are? And I don’t mean in a blase kind of way but in a way where you are genuinely concerned about the answer. They say that you only get what you give in life and nowhere else does this apply quite so much as it does with friendships and relationships.
Not all problems can be solved by our friends of course and sometimes you may need more professional help. If this is the case then it isn’t something you should feel embarrassed about. The human nervous system is a very complex and sometimes fragile thing. Sometimes it can need tweaking or fixing in just the same way that the immune system can, something that may be far beyond the expertise of our well-meaning friends.
Try and gain some perspective
When we are suffering with any kind of problem – financial, emotional or physical – it can be really easy to become self-absorbed, constantly thinking and worrying about your own problems but nobody else’s. It doesn’t take long to start feeling like you are the only one out there with problems, even though we know this simply isn’t true. Many people – some closer to home and some further away – are facing big problems, many of which are far worse than our own. I know that thinking about the plight of others won’t necessarily solve your problems, but never has it failed to help me put my own problems into perspective. My mother always used to tell me that no matter how bad you think your situation is, there is always someone who is in a worse position. Those words have stuck with me to this day and have helped me through some tough times in the past and I’m sure they’ll get me through many others to come.
What advice would you give to someone who is trying to deal with emotional stress?