Stress, Projects, and the Global Economy

Stress. Deadlines. Projects. Tests. Bills. Global Economy.

The only thing all of these have in common is they are a very important part of my life (whether I want them or not). Based on the theme of my previous blogs, I felt that another blog on stressing would serve its purpose well. After all, as Americans we can’t have much to worry about when people in Libya and Egypt are going through much harder times…

Here’s a few lessons I’ve learned about stressing:

  1. Don’t sweat the little stuff – as a someone who appreciates being in control, this is one of the hardest things for me to do. It’s all too easy to let something small ruin my day, and in the big picture it seems kind of ridiculous. A splotch of ketchup on a new tie, a broken start sensor solenoid that costs me $300 to fix on my birthday, or having to walk my bike 2.4 miles to the shop because I didn’t bring my pump with me (although I had the extra tube). It’s how we react to these incidents that can make or break our week, and in retrospect it’s always easier to take the more lighthearted approach. Stuff happens!
  2. Don’t waste energy on stuff you can’t control – as bad as I am about letting little stuff bother me I am worse about stressing about stuff I have NO CONTROL OVER! Sitting at home on Friday wondering if someone is going to call with social plans, stressing if that gift arrived yet for a special someone, or torturing yourself about the GMAT (which apparently I ended up passing…barely). Once you have done everything that you can do, it is time to move on and relax. I have found that a good swim can almost always cure my anxious worrying. Just be sure to get the chlorine out of your hair before hanging out with your friends. :-D
  3. Take time to be thankful – sitting through my International Business midterm last night really got me thinking about how good we as Americans have it, especially in comparison with the rest of the world. Sure, we like to complain that gas is spiking towards $4/gallon all too quickly, or that we couldn’t get tickets to see U2 in June, but really all of those problems pale in comparison to how good we have it. I can confidently say that 99% of us have adequate food, clothing, and shelter, awesome friends, a solid education, jobs (or dreams of jobs if we’re in the middle of changing), and goals for our lives. Taking time to dwell on the good can alleviate any knots in the back you’ve acquired from freaking out.
  4. Is it really that bad?! – in the midst of the many events in Africa, the fact that we would have the gall to even whine about gas prices hurting our economy is frankly pathetic.  I think now is a great time for all of us to get outside ourselves and open our eyes to the world around us (surprisingly it doesn’t center around Obama’s horrendous budget, the cost of a new TV, or how expensive bread is getting). Between my Personal Branding and International Organization classes, I have found a new appreciation for the world around me and have made an effort to read articles about other areas of the world that have a direct impact on us as Americans. Also, working in Higher Education has certainly served to increase my awareness as well.

As Americans, we tend to overreact and be incredibly self-centered. How do you feel about the recent changes across the ocean and their impact on us at home? Do you think we’re doing our part of being involved since it affects us all?

Picture credit – P.S. It really annoys me that pictures of globes always show North America front and center so I used one that doesn’t … :-)


  1. Don’t sweat the little stuff… it really doesn’t matter about the globe! :) You do cover some good points in this post. What I’ve learned is to bounce back when things get you down for whatever reason. Having a positive attitude not only make you feel better it makes you feel better about yourself and other people too.

    PS. Petrol (gas) in the UK is now around $10/ gallon. We’re getting past moaning and changing our behaviour.

  2. Hey Martin, thanks for the comment. Holy cow $10 gallon is quite the price tag. We definitely have nothing to complain about. It’s amazing how the global economy has such far reaching effects.

  3. I like the overall theme of this blog. Way to go on hitting some really positive points! Things that we all need reminders of everyday, otherwise it can really make a person’s day a drag. Aside from your brief political commentary, a good post.

  4. I wholly agree with every point you make here. I also have similar tendencies so it’s easy for me to relate. I think it’s important to see things for what they are (as you said, small things in the bigger picture) and not over-think them.

    Given how polarized the political scene in America has become, I think developing an awareness and understanding of how events, policies, etc. will affect you is a good idea, while at the same time remaining emotionally detached. The same goes for global events. For instance, we can look at the turmoil in the Middle East, recognize that gas prices (and prices of numerous other commodities for that matter) will inevitably increase drastically, devise a way for coping with this new circumstance (e.g. carpooling more often, taking the bus, buying a bicycle, etc), and then leave it at that! No need to stress yourself out by thinking about it everytime you go to the gas station or see a report on the news.

    Nice pic by the way ^^

    1. Hey Wong, thanks for the thoughts! What a crazy time this is for us both at home with our crumbling economy and overseas with the many revolts that are going on! It will be interesting to see the methods that we come up with coping (as you said).

  5. Thanks for the great post Russell! All of your thoughts and suggestions can be applied to real life. #2 is very true and sometimes the hardest to put into practice! Especially when you’re a perfectionist and need to feel in control in order to feel like yourself.

  6. Wow, this is a great blog. I really try to think the way you do, positive. I used to complain about having to work so much and my mom taught me a great lesson. She made me realize how easy I have it by telling me how she used to work all day long in the burning heat picking strawberry’s. Here I am complaining because I get to sit in an air conditioned room all day.

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