The biggest source of stress and anxiety is a feeling of “insecurity” or “fear”. I am not talking about temporary stress we feel by too much work or a deadline, that kind of stress is healthy. When stress becomes unhealthy, and starts impacting our health, our relationship and life negatively – it is usually due to something bigger than just a deadline. We may feel insecure about our inability to stay well in future, or our inability to provide for others due to any perceived threat of loss – it may be perceived financial, physical, reputation, or relationship loss. Usually an event, or a news, or a conversation, or just coming across someone/something that reminds a stressful past event will trigger the feeling of insecurity in us. Then our imagination will take over, and will amplify the possible consequences, creating a snow-ball effect, multiplying the stress intensity and longevity. I believe the basic pre-condition to prepare for the stress is to feel internally “peaceful and secured” to some degree, having a sense of “control” over our life. This feeling of security usually comes from two sources – inside and outside.
First we need to strengthen the inside source – through building a “secured” mindset. We have to count our blessing, look around us, and feel safe with the huge supporting system of people around us – parents, relatives, friends, neighbours and colleagues etc. The universe around us is extremely helpful if we seek for help, and it will not leave us alone. God is usually kind to people who keep trying. We are already very lucky if food and shelter is not a daily concern for us. There are plenty of opportunities and options of livelihood all around us. People who are dependent on us, if required, they can look after themselves for a while, because they also have an extended support system. Any perceived threat is usually not as bad as we imagine it to be. If we are well spoken, well-behaved, good learner, hard-working, and carry a good attitude – others will not easily give up on us, no matter how grave the situation is. Honest, loving and authentic people always have plenty of well wishes and supporters around them. Many others are exposed to far more life risk than us, and still living a good life with family and friends. We don’t need to overplay the “unsecured overachiever” drama, just take it easy and enjoy colours of life, take it one day at a time. Embrace whatever little risk and uncertainty life poses on all of us – we are supposed to handle that much from time to time. It happens. We’ll be okay.
Then we need to cultivate the outside channels to strengthen our secured feeling. That means spending a lot of time in planning, preparation and prevention. We should keep investing in developing our employability and self-worth. We need to plan for our future, specially regularly saving for emergency, for our child, for our house, and for our retirement. We need to be very disciplined and organised at work and personal life. We should respect the two most important elements of modern life “time” and “money” – they can either be spent or invested. We should have enough insurance for our life and health, properly secure our valuables and assets. We need to have the insatiable drive for higher learning and growth, and we should always strive to positively touch every life we come across. We should work towards building a good public image and reputation, and guard it with life. We need to take care of our health by eating right, and living our life in moderation. We should develop many healthy relationships at school, work, family, neighbours etc. Finally, I believe, we need to stay away from any kind of debt (and lose whatever hot opportunity, lifestyle etc. that our well wishers absolutely do not want us to miss, until we can afford them by our own money, not by borrowed money). Don’t go for the lifestyle that you can’t afford without debt. I suggest very basic finance rule for secured and stress free lifestyle – live within your means, invest from your income, spend from your income, don’t incur debt, take enough insurance, leave room for emergency, purchase big-ticket items when you can afford (delay major purchases to later phase of life, when you’ll be more wise).
When you are debt free, investing on your education and learning, continuously growing your knowledge/experience/employability, regularly investing for 3 big future goals (child, house, retirement), ready and insured for emergency, have a good health and disciplined lifestyle, cultivating more enjoyable relationships and support system at work and personal life – you’ll run out of reasons to be stressed. No matter how life comes at you, you’ll have a composure and confidence to deal with it with.