Stress Less

05 May 2016
Stress Less

I remember as a kid hearing a common word float around that I didn’t really understand. It seemed to be a problem for everyone. The word was “stress”. I heard it circulating all the time and it got me curious. When I finally learned what it meant, I still didn’t really understand it. My young self thought, If you’re tired, sleep. If you’re too busy, do less. I couldn’t understand why people became stressed, when all they had to do was slow down! 

Ignorance is bliss. With growing up comes many lovely things, including work, responsibility and this “stress” concept. I didn’t understand it then, but I do now. 

There’s a saying that pops up in my newsfeed every so often that says:

“Normal is getting dressed in the clothes you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car you’re still paying for, to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes, the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it”
(Ellen Goodman). 

As funny as it sounds, it’s shockingly true. This is the life we have created for ourselves.  We work as hard as we can to afford the things we think we need, to have the life we think we want. 

A study conducted in 2013 by the Australian Psychological Society revealed that more than 73 per cent of Australians were experiencing negative health affects due to stress. The age group experiencing the most amount of stress was young adults and students, who also reported lower levels of wellbeing than any other age group. This seems really backwards to me, as young adulthood should be the prime of our life! Looking into it further, more than 52 per cent of these young adults reported financial burden to be the cause of their stress. 

Society puts a lot of pressure on young people to be successful and live the life everyone dreams of. In our desperate struggle for consolidation, we often lose perspective. If we don’t have that car by 25, we have failed. If we haven’t travelled the world and accumulated more than 2000 Instagram followers along the way, we have failed. 

The saying “less is more” didn’t just happen by itself. Those words hold significant truth and apply to so many aspects of life. The more we have, the more we want until it becomes an insatiable thirst that can never be quenched. It’s often when we have the least amount of “stuff” that we discover we don’t really need all that much anyway! 

1 Timothy 6:8 put it like this: “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” 

Earthly possessions and the struggle to be as good as that person with the Rolex can destroy our happiness. While we are standing here trying to figure out how to frame the perfect photo, life is happening—and we might be missing it. 

Take a step back, relax and want for nothing but the voice of the Saviour. He will show you how to succeed, and it will be unlike anything this world
can offer. 


Tips and Tricks

> Start your day with a motive to pay it forward.
    Even if you don’t know what you’re going to do, at some point in the day aim to make somebody else’s life easier. Whether it be changing a flat tire or paying for somebody’s drink, do something that’s not for you. These tiny acts can make the biggest difference.  

> Create a bucket list. 
   Crossing something off a bucket list can be so unusually rewarding, and it’s a good way to keep focused on moving forward. Create yourself a list of goals and accomplish them one at a time. 

> Take photos and capture moments, 
but then put your phone away and really be there. We tend to exist through our social media accounts, valuing the way our lives look as opposed to how they really might be. Before we know it, memories have happened but we’re still editing our picture. Switch your phone off and live in the moment you’ve just captured. 

> Explore!
    Take yourself on regular adventures to places you have never been before. We are inquisitive by nature, so fill that curiosity through healthy adventure.

> Don’t be a crab in the bucket.
    Have you ever seen crabs pulling other crabs back down in order to be the first to escape from the bucket? Often we can’t stand to see others succeed when we are not. It takes a lot to see somebody flourish and be genuinely happy for them when we feel the opposite
    about our own lives. Trust that God knows exactly what He’s doing with your life, let go, and be OK with waiting. 


Ellesha Knight lives in Melbourne, Victoria, and is studying a Masters of Occupational Therapy at La Trobe University.


Ellesha Knight