CNN Money announced the Top 20 Most Stressed Out Cities and Detroit came in at a whopping number #2. Second only to The Big Apple, New York City, CNN Money looked at commute times, hours worked, crime, unemployment, poverty and more to rank the most stressed out cities in the United States.
CNN Money cites Detroit’s historic bankruptcy, high murder and property crime rates, cuts to police and other services, unemployment higher than the national average and a quarter of residents living below the poverty line as contributors to high stress.
The report got us thinking at Birmingham Maple Clinic what ways can Detroiters, and those stressed out across the country do to de-stress.
1) Have good boundaries.
Know when to say “yes,” when to say “no.” Saying “no” to extra responsibilities doesn’t mean you don’t care and he few uncomfortable seconds of disappointing someone are well worth avoiding the stress of taking on an extra activity or doing something that you don’t really value.
2) Do what you love.
It’s a lot easier to handle chunks of stress if they are mixed in with a handful of joyous activities, hobbies that you are passionate about, or something that makes you feel fulfilled.
3) Have a variety of de-stress tools.
Deep breathing is a great anxiety tool but may not be able to be used in every stressful moment. Taking a walk is great too but you cannot take a walk during your board meeting, traffic jam, or during your kid’s temper tantrum. Get to know yourself and find a variety of things that are calming (looking at a picture from a beach vacation or of your kids, listening to a favorite song, shutting your office door and having an impromptu dance party with yourself.)
Even better, do not just save your de-stress tools for when stress has already set in. Deep breathing and other mindfulness techniques are most effective to calm stress when they are practiced often in periods of no stress.
4) Take negotiable items off your plate
There are some to-do items that are non-negotiable like work and school but maybe the extra committee you signed up for can go.
5) Positive Self talk
You should have 5 “I can do this” or “Things will work out” statements for each one “I’m so stupid or “What was I thinking?”
Negative self-talk increases stress. Positive self-talk helps you calm down and control stress. With practice, you can learn to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. As mentioned above its best to have a full bank account of positive self talk during nonstressful times so that there is a cushion to counter negative statements for that rainy stress-filled day.
Detroit is on the cusp of a comeback, and along with growth and change come inevitable increased levels of stress. While stress is unavoidable, its negative effects don’t have to be. Overcome stress with a little bit of positive thinking and fun…it’s how we handle things in Detroit.