Money and Other Little Stresses
While some people argue that money is the root of all evil, those in the green say that lack of money is the root of all evil. Living is expensive, which a quick look at your checking account will attest to. We worry constantly about money, and it feels like every year there’s something new to pay for, and thus, to worry about.
Maybe things were cheaper back in our parents days- from a movie ticket to a house- but nowadays we don’t have to just worry about the mortgage. Increasingly expensive college tuition, braces and orthodonture for years and years for each kid, summer camp, soccer camp, travel (both business travel and family vacations), more and more taxes, 401ks and Roth IRAs… the list goes on and on. And with each new addition to our list of expenses, there’s a new thing to worry about, and a little more stress is added to everything else, too.
While Women certainly have their share of the burden, it’s Men who tend to stress out about money matters more often. After all, most men tie a lot of their self-worth to their earning power and savings. When our money prospects don’t look too good, men get depressed. And society plays their part in our money-related sadness. Society tends to judge a man’s success in life depending on how much he’s accumulated, and not measuring up to what others say you should have can make you feel down and out- not to mention straight up angry and frustrated.
On top of the stress we feel about money itself, we also get stressed out by the things that our money buys us. We’re living through a constant explosion of technology, and these changes bring with them all new sources of pressure and all new demands. All of which adds up to new stresses. How often does your cell phone make your life easier, and how often is it just another source of stress? Do you enjoy being on call at all hours?
So while it’s usually the larger things that we think about when we think about stress (divorce, death, poverty, illness) it’s often the little things that build up our feelings of frustration. They may be considered low to moderate stresses, but as when they add up they are anything but. Noisy traffic might just be a hassle, but on top of everything else it can set you over the edge.
Think about all the other little stresses that you encounter day in and day out:
- Inconsiderate neighbors
- Rude salesmen
- Rude customers
- Large crowds
- Deliveries and appointments with ambiguous timeframes
- Waiting in line
- Gross public bathrooms
- Everyone else on their cell phone all the time
- Trying to wrestle with public transportation
These things all may be small, but they add up, don’t they? A couple here and there are no big deal and are not likely to set you over the edge. But when you’re already stressed out and worn down, these little things can lead to big over-reactions, which leads to situations causing even more stress.
And when it comes down to it, we actually tend to deal pretty well with the big stresses in life- the deaths and diseases. They tend to awaken hidden strengths and reserves within us. What really gets to us are the little things, chipping away a little bit at a time, until you have nothing left to give and you erupt.