An Easy Way to Beat Stress

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Carefree WomanIt’s confirmed: We’re stressed.

And we’re more stressed than men are.

According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2010 Stress in America survey, most Americans are living with moderate or high levels of stress. And women are more stressed than men (28% report a very high level of stress, compared to 20% of men).

What tops our list of stressors? Surprise, surprise: Money. For 76% of Americans, money is the number one source of stress—above relationships, health, and personal safety.

If we could sum it up, we’d say: Mo’ money, mo’ problems. No money, mo’ problems.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

The Stressed Gender?

We’re not sure why women are more stressed than men about money, but we can hazard a guess. First, women run 80% of household finances in America. We also tend to worry about problems more than men do (yeah, we have to do something about that).

It’s important to learn how to better manage stress, because stress has been linked to a variety of ailments, from mental health issues like anxiety and depression to physical illness, such as coronary disease.

Tackle the Problem

One way to handle money-related stress is to go straight to the underlying problem: those finances. At LearnVest, we firmly believe in taking control over your finances, which will allow you to sleep easily at night, no matter how much or how little you have (trust us, having a lot of money does not mean you won’t be stressed out about money—read about why the wealthy feel insecure and poor here).

But there is another way to manage stress that might be even more important …

Tackle the Stress

Studies show that our response to an event—the meaning and significance we attribute to it—is actually more important than the event itself in creating an emotional reaction. In other words, if someone steals our wallet, there is nothing we can do to change that fact. But we can change our feelings about it—and we have much more power over our own emotional reactions than we think.

Our response to an event is more important than the event itself in creating an emotional reaction.

A recent study out of the University of Denver and the University of Basel showed that the method of cognitive reappraisal, or thinking about a situation in a more positive light, helps women change their emotional reactions to situations.

In the study, a group of 78 women from diverse backgrounds were shown a sad film clip. One group was left alone, and the other group was instructed to use the “cognitive reappraisal” method. The group that used cognitive reappraisal experienced much less negative emotion and stress than the other group (and they even measured this through physical skin conductance tests).

And according to the researchers, these results apply to our larger stressful life events as well.

How to Do It

So how exactly can we start taking this “silver lining” approach to life?

Get Rid of Stress Now

Check out our Getting Out of Debt Bootcamp CLICK HERE

Below are the actual instructions given to the women in the study—try them for yourself and see if they help you diminish the stress in your life.

Try to think about the situation you see in a more positive light. You can achieve this in several different ways:

  • Try to imagine advice you would give yourself to make you feel better.
  • Think about the positive effect this event could have on your life.
  • Think about the good things you might learn from this experience.
  • Keep in mind that even though a situation may be painful in the moment, it could make your life better in the long run, or have unexpected good outcomes.

Think about it—maybe we can re-direct ourselves into stress-free living no matter our circumstances. (And we’re betting stress-free is the better way to tackle our circumstances anyway!)

  • Andrea

    This is interesting! It makes sense but it’s nice to see data backing it up, too. Really helpful. Thanks! 

  • Andrea

    This is interesting! It makes sense but it’s nice to see data backing it up, too. Really helpful. Thanks! 

  • Andrea

    This is interesting! It makes sense but it’s nice to see data backing it up, too. Really helpful. Thanks! 

  • Andrea

    This is interesting! It makes sense but it’s nice to see data backing it up, too. Really helpful. Thanks! 

  • Andrea

    This is interesting! It makes sense but it’s nice to see data backing it up, too. Really helpful. Thanks! 

  • http://www.smartmouthblog.com Nicole Longstreath

    This is interesting. I suppose it would make sense that because, often, the stress is in our imagination – so, why not use imagination to beat it?

  • http://www.smartmouthblog.com Nicole Longstreath

    This is interesting. I suppose it would make sense that because, often, the stress is in our imagination – so, why not use imagination to beat it?

  • http://www.smartmouthblog.com Nicole Longstreath

    This is interesting. I suppose it would make sense that because, often, the stress is in our imagination – so, why not use imagination to beat it?

  • http://www.smartmouthblog.com Nicole Longstreath

    This is interesting. I suppose it would make sense that because, often, the stress is in our imagination – so, why not use imagination to beat it?

  • http://www.smartmouthblog.com Nicole Longstreath

    This is interesting. I suppose it would make sense that because, often, the stress is in our imagination – so, why not use imagination to beat it?

  • Alyshia

    Really good advice, tried it already and it cheer me up a little bit more, I’m really stressed because I go to school and work both full time, I’m only 21 so sometimes its hard to understand the difficulties I have to go trough, so the advice I give myself is that after I graduate things will get better :)

  • Alyshia

    Really good advice, tried it already and it cheer me up a little bit more, I’m really stressed because I go to school and work both full time, I’m only 21 so sometimes its hard to understand the difficulties I have to go trough, so the advice I give myself is that after I graduate things will get better :)

  • Alyshia

    Really good advice, tried it already and it cheer me up a little bit more, I’m really stressed because I go to school and work both full time, I’m only 21 so sometimes its hard to understand the difficulties I have to go trough, so the advice I give myself is that after I graduate things will get better :)

    • Alyshia

      I love learnvest

    • Alyshia

      I love learnvest

    • Alyshia

      I love learnvest

    • Alyshia

      I love learnvest

  • Alyshia

    Really good advice, tried it already and it cheer me up a little bit more, I’m really stressed because I go to school and work both full time, I’m only 21 so sometimes its hard to understand the difficulties I have to go trough, so the advice I give myself is that after I graduate things will get better :)

  • Alyshia

    Really good advice, tried it already and it cheer me up a little bit more, I’m really stressed because I go to school and work both full time, I’m only 21 so sometimes its hard to understand the difficulties I have to go trough, so the advice I give myself is that after I graduate things will get better :)

  • Faith

    I can’t believe that you didn’t mention the two main financial problems that women stress-out over; the fact that women make less income  than men do in the same field, even when other considerations such as education, and job experience are the same. The second one should be readily apparent to anyone with half a brain; most single head-of-households are women.  So, in other words, we make less money and yet have more expenses (due to more mouths to feed). Oh, and the fact that most men do not pay child support or pay less than  what they’re supposed to be paying is a big part of our stress.. The only way women will experience less stress is to be paid the same wages for the same jobs that men have and to receive the child support that the court has ordered. Let’s face reality- men rule and the “good old boys club”  is going to keep on keeping us down. In other words, they want to keep us in our place. Unless laws change and other laws (like child support) are enforced, no form of “relaxation” is going to pay our bills. Get real!

  • Faith

    I can’t believe that you didn’t mention the two main financial problems that women stress-out over; the fact that women make less income  than men do in the same field, even when other considerations such as education, and job experience are the same. The second one should be readily apparent to anyone with half a brain; most single head-of-households are women.  So, in other words, we make less money and yet have more expenses (due to more mouths to feed). Oh, and the fact that most men do not pay child support or pay less than  what they’re supposed to be paying is a big part of our stress.. The only way women will experience less stress is to be paid the same wages for the same jobs that men have and to receive the child support that the court has ordered. Let’s face reality- men rule and the “good old boys club”  is going to keep on keeping us down. In other words, they want to keep us in our place. Unless laws change and other laws (like child support) are enforced, no form of “relaxation” is going to pay our bills. Get real!

  • Schmidt Katrina

    I do this to myself all the time and it really works.  The Bible even recommends this type of thinking, telling us to “take our thoughts captive” and think on things that are “good, true, noble, beautiful, etc.”  Our own attitude is really the only thing we have control over in life, but it can totally determine how happy (or miserable) we are!

  • Schmidt Katrina

    I do this to myself all the time and it really works.  The Bible even recommends this type of thinking, telling us to “take our thoughts captive” and think on things that are “good, true, noble, beautiful, etc.”  Our own attitude is really the only thing we have control over in life, but it can totally determine how happy (or miserable) we are!

  • Schmidt Katrina

    I do this to myself all the time and it really works.  The Bible even recommends this type of thinking, telling us to “take our thoughts captive” and think on things that are “good, true, noble, beautiful, etc.”  Our own attitude is really the only thing we have control over in life, but it can totally determine how happy (or miserable) we are!

  • Schmidt Katrina

    I do this to myself all the time and it really works.  The Bible even recommends this type of thinking, telling us to “take our thoughts captive” and think on things that are “good, true, noble, beautiful, etc.”  Our own attitude is really the only thing we have control over in life, but it can totally determine how happy (or miserable) we are!

  • Schmidt Katrina

    I do this to myself all the time and it really works.  The Bible even recommends this type of thinking, telling us to “take our thoughts captive” and think on things that are “good, true, noble, beautiful, etc.”  Our own attitude is really the only thing we have control over in life, but it can totally determine how happy (or miserable) we are!

  • Schmidt Katrina

    I do this to myself all the time and it really works.  The Bible even recommends this type of thinking, telling us to “take our thoughts captive” and think on things that are “good, true, noble, beautiful, etc.”  Our own attitude is really the only thing we have control over in life, but it can totally determine how happy (or miserable) we are!

  • the_leaky_pen

    This is great advice. I’m definitely going to be coming back to this when I’m stressed out about something.