Every time I travel to Europe (especially outside of the big cities) I notice that the stress level tends to be much lower than what we have here in the US.
Yes, big city folks tend to always be on edge (think of the typical New Yorker), but I’ve found folks from New Hampshire to Michigan and from Florida to Missouri to posses as much stress, albeit at a different level, than the typical city dweller.
The whole thing got me thinking, can one really live a practical and cost conscious life if stress is present? I’m not talking about occasional stress that is associated with a job or family, rather I’m talking about the constant stress that keeps you up at night or prevents you from enjoying the weekends or a nice meal.
I used to work a pretty stressful job in a competitive industry and after a day at the office I didn’t want to handle any of the practical living things I’ve been blogging about on Scordo.com; in fact, at the end of day all I wanted was a glass of wine and some food (preferably the kind that I didn’t have to make myself). Now, removed from the hyper-competitive industry and working a sane job, I find time to cook, read, work on the house, and be with my family (all at the level that I want).
So, yes, stress is bad! It’s bad for the obvious reasons (namely, physical and mental), but it’s also bad because it robs the individual of time to stop and think about how to live one’s life in the best possible way.
More specifically, stress can prevent you from doing most of the following things:
1. Learning new skills or following your passion.
2. Reading both fiction and non fiction books.
3. Working on your home so you don’t have to pay someone else to mow your lawn, clean your kitchen, wash your windows, build some bookshelves, etc.
4. Looking at your household budget and making adjustments to find savings.
5. Spending time with your wife/husband and kids.
7. Cooking great meals.
8. Sharing a good conversation.
9. Thinking and planning ahead.
I know it’s difficult to control stress and people handle it in different ways (and some are able to cope more than others), but as a general rule of thumb living a practical and fulfilled life is about controlling stress.
This is a guest post from Vince who runs Scordo. Scordo.com provides daily tips and advice on practical living, saving money, how to, food, and home improvement. In short, Scordo.com will help you lead a high quality lifestyle! Scordo.com – Be Practical, Live Better.
Neal @ WealthPilgrim.com says
Generally, stress keeps us from being present.
One of the greatest books I’ve ever read to help rid stress from my life is,”How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carneige.
Amazing book. Life changer for me.
.-= Neal @ WealthPilgrim.com´s last blog ..Just Do It, Don’t Wait, And Start Today =-.
I’ll have to check my library for that book. Thanks!
You’re right. Stress has us thinking about the past and the future but what we need sometimes is to just think of right now.
I think Americans as a whole just bring on a lot more pressure and stress than other nations, probably why we work, on average, the most hours. We just spent a vacation in various parts of Europe and everything just seemed more casual there.
.-= jim´s last blog ..How Being A Pessimist Saves You Money =-.
Yes. At least in prior generations we had a lot to show for it in our economy. These days we’re forced fed the 9-5 workday but we’re not as productive. And the stress is killing us to boot!
The lifestyle in Europe is laid back and from what my relatives tell me used to be even more relaxed. Unfortunately, the Anglo-Saxon capitalism that we see in the US is making it’s way to countries like Germany, France, Spain, and Italy as well.
The #1 thing I would add to the list which may be broad would just be enjoy life. Hard to enjoy life when too serious and stressed out.
PT Money says
Stress stinks, man. It gets the worst of me. It really locks me down and prevents me from getting anything positive done. The best medicine for me is a long night of sleep.
Yeah, sometimes after a hard day at work I need to shut down for the day and start over refreshed.
James Blackwell says
Healthy food is important in beating stress
David Leonhardt says
Most importantly, stress can keep you from accomplishing sleep. Which leads to more stress, to overeating (tired bodies crave carbs) and a lack of motivation – which makes it even harder to accomplish the nine items mention, and many more as well.
I resemble that remark! Sleeping is huge in being able to function.
Great post. Being cognizant of life’s priorities (many of which you list) is exactly how to stave off stress and its effects.
I commit to planning ahead, to shopping and cooking healthy food, to exercising, to spending time with my family. That helps keep my stress levels in check. I choose not to let it interfere with what I have set as important. This article is a great reminder of how damaging stress can be. It’s a choice–let’s choose to keep it in check and lead a full, healthy life!
It’s a lifestyle decision – Are you going to do things that lead TO stress or are you going to live in such a way as to REDUCE stress? I’m certainly trying to reduce stress but it’s a work in progress as life isn’t static.
It really is a lifestyle choice, but, for me at least, the choice is easy when you consider what you’re missing out on if stress dominates your life.
Having been to several countries in Europe, I can say that my experience is that Europeans seem to be more relaxed than folks here in the States–especially in Italy. They live a more leisurely lifestyle than many here in the U.S. do. I’m not sure whether they’re less stressed or not, but they certainly seem to take their time with things and enjoy the smaller things in life more than we do.
.-= Robert´s last blog ..Your Money is Dirtier Than You Think =-.
Window Replacement says
The info in the article is so important to remember.. life is just too short. Have you looked at the stats in the UK on the hours worked a week, vaca time, and annual salary? It’s incredible. I was just in Ireland last week and read an article that stated the average work week was between 32-38 hours a week, average vaca time a year was 4-6 weeks and salary is about 50K Euro. Makes you reevaluate your idea of a good job with good benefits, eh? I got a little side tracked…meant to comment on having time for home improvement.. these projects can relax (and honestly, sometimes stress) you and when complete, you have an unmatched sense of accomplishment. Plus, coming home to the house just the way you like it is just wonderful.