breatheI breathe deeply for 30 minutes. Every. Single. Day.  It keeps me sane and healthy.

After reading Americans Are Officially Freaking Out by Deena Shanker, I am more convinced than ever that my daily meditation practice and daily exercise are the only things that keep me from losing my mind.

Things are not that bad, but how can any of us see that at the frantic pace we normally view life? The economy is actually doing very well at the moment by almost every objective measure. Pew research suggests that the middle class is shrinking because more folks are actually doing BETTER.  Government institutions are still working, albeit slightly less effectively with reduced staffing. And violent crime is WAY down in 2017, despite the tragic mass shootings of the last 35 days.

Yet, Shanker says the American Psychological Association’s Eleventh “Stress in America” survey found that 63% of Americans are stressed about the future of the nation. 62% are stressed about money. And 61% are stressed about work.

As a financial advisor, I often see how these elevated stress levels impact my clients’ lives. But I observe how stress effects those nearest and dearest to me, as well.  I note that as my son gets a bit older, his stress levels are increasing. And I experience friction in my other close relationships that I believe stems from a combination of my own internal stress and theirs.

We all know that consistent stress is incredibly bad for us. Check out this INFOGRAPHIC on if you want to see a graphic representation of just how bad. As a financial planner, I can’t help wondering if our extreme political fatigue and heightened stress levels will end up increasing (even further) our average healthcare costs in the near future.

What can we do to turn this trend around? The only thing I have found that consistently reduces my stress level is my daily morning routine. When I have to cut short my exercise time, I feel myself becoming more rigid and less tolerant. Exercise, stretching and meditation go a long way towards calming my frayed nerves. Something similar may or may not work for you, but it is certainly worth a try.