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Reader Suggests: Find Joy In The Moment

March 7, 2017
Emmetsburg News

To the Editor:

I heard on TV over the weekend that in the 1970's the medium worker's wage was $48,000 and now 2017 it is like $33,000 if I understood the commentator correctly. As I think about $15,000 less disposable income and the increase of utility bills, groceries, and medical bills in the last almost 40 years; I truly believe, with two parents working to just stay afloat this has to be the most stressed generation.

I just googled the internet and this is what I found: "Americans are stressed in general, but according to the American Psychological Association's annual Stress in America survey, released Feb. 4, no generation feels those effects more than millennials (age 18-35) (though Gen Xers 36-49 are close). Across generations, concerns about money and finances are the biggest cause of stress. 'Money and finances have remained the top stressor since our survey began in 2007,' said APA CEO Norman B. Anderson in a press release.

While some stress can be beneficial to get a person excited and motivated, too much stress can lead to depression and the need for escape. Unfortunately the ways people chose to alleviate stress is often through unhealthy behavior like drinking, surfing the internet and smoking. Unhealthy behavior can start a vicious cycle of stress and unhealthy behavior which can lead to more stress and then more unhealthy behavior.

Even though financial stress college loans, unfavorable job market, and low wages, unfortunately is a reality, we need to help the younger generation find healthy ways to manage stress. Hopefully there will be financial changes that will benefit more American workers, but until then we need to acknowledge that many people are suffering from financial stress and share healthy idea.

I remember years ago visiting in a waiting room with a lady who said she lived through the depression. Now I am not saying we are in a depression, but that was definitely a time of financial struggle. She told me that no one she knew had any money but she said we still had a lot of fun. We would get together with neighbors and play games all the time. I remember it as a "fun" time.

It might take a bit more creativity but there are many "fun" things to do. I think the most important thing to remember is don't compare your finances or experiences with others. There will always be people who have more money and like to share their latest travel adventures. It is important to find joy in the moment; for joy can be found in the simplest things; and stress is a fact of life, but it doesn't have to become your life.

(signed) Linda Hallengren

Prevention Specialist

Compass Pointe Behavioral Health

Spencer, IA



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