The Culture of Stress – And How to Beat It

Moving to the United States from New Zealand in 2015, I was mentally prepared for the hustle and bustle of chasing the American dream. However, I soon realized that while I may have been cognitively ready for the fast-paced lifestyle, I wasn't emotionally or mentally equipped to handle its significant effects on my well-being.

Over the years, especially as I expanded my business to support and coach teens in healthy and positive self-expression through songwriting, I've witnessed firsthand the pervasive influence of American hustle culture. The pressure to constantly hustle, achieve, and succeed can take a significant toll, leading to heightened stress levels and a myriad of associated challenges.

[Sorry, not sorry, to every dude-bro on Instagram trying to prescribe the sleep-less-hustle-more mentality in order to achieve anything in life. You're not helping. Don't get me wrong: working hard on our goals is important, but not at the expense of our mental-, emotional-, spiritual-, and physical health and well-being. We are human beings, not human doings].

There are a LOT of Negative Ramifications from Stress

Stress, in its many forms, can wreak havoc on our mental, emotional, and physical health. From vocal constriction and anxiety to insomnia and emotional dysregulation, its effects can be wide-ranging and debilitating. Shockingly, statistics reveal that nearly 25% of the US population has been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, including PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, Social Anxiety, Schizophrenia, OCD, and Clinical Depression.

According to a poll published in Forbes magazine in 2023; "Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the U.S. and affect over 40 million adults, or 19.1% of the population. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most common anxiety disorder in the U.S. with 6.8 million adults affected." Unsurprisingly, the most affected group of people affected by anxiety disorder are young people between 18 and 24.

*Ahem* This is why I launched YES Youth Coaching in the first place: to equip young people with the tools and know-how to navigate and express their overwhelming thoughts and emotions before they culminate too seriously into chronic stress, or an anxiety disorder. I'm not saying that songwriting is the cure all here, but I am saying that it's far more effective to take preventative measures, rather than react and fix once ones mental health is already negatively impacted.

Amidst the Overwhelming Weight of Stress, There is Always Hope.

Which brings me to the reason why I'm writing this blog for you today.

Just this past weekend, I returned home [to Washington DC] from my honeymoon in Fiji [my father's homeland], where I had the privilege of being reminded about the profound power of music and songwriting in combatting stress, especially through the lens of Pasifika culture. The warmth, rhythm, and communal spirit of music in Fiji served as a poignant reminder of the transformative potential of creativity in healing and resilience.

Drawing from my experiences and teachings, I'd like to share some effective strategies to beat stress:

What are some ways to Beat Stress?

  1. Rest: In a culture that glorifies busyness and productivity, prioritizing rest is paramount. Adequate sleep, mindfulness meditation, and deep breathing exercises are essential practices that promote relaxation and reduce stress levels. As my grandmother once wisely said, "Sleeping helps us lose weight, you know." While it may elicit a chuckle, the truth behind her words underscores the importance of rest in managing stress and maintaining overall well-being.
  2. Somatic Practice: Somatic yoga and stretches have gained widespread recognition for their ability to release trauma, alleviate tension, and promote emotional well-being. Singing and breathwork are integral components of somatic practice, facilitating mind-body connection and fostering a sense of inner calm and balance.
  3. Holistic Songwriting: Songwriting offers a holistic approach to stress relief by providing a creative outlet for self-expression and emotional processing. By identifying, understanding, and expressing overwhelming thoughts and feelings through music, individuals can transform stress into empowerment. My approach to songwriting coaching emphasizes the importance of treating the whole person, taking into account mental, emotional, and social factors, rather than just addressing the symptoms of stress.

Get Professional Help

While self-care practices can be incredibly beneficial, navigating stress alone can be challenging. Seeking professional support, whether through coaching, therapy, or counseling, can provide valuable guidance, tools, and resources for managing stress effectively.

As an empowerment through songwriting coach, I specialize in helping individuals harness the power of music and creativity to navigate stress and reclaim their inner harmony. If you're interested in learning more about how songwriting and singing can help you combat stress, I invite you to schedule a call with me. Together, we can explore personalized strategies to enhance your well-being and empower you to thrive in the face of adversity.

In conclusion, while the culture of stress may seem pervasive, it is not insurmountable. By prioritizing rest, engaging in somatic practices, and embracing holistic songwriting, we can navigate stress with resilience, grace, and creativity. Remember, you don't have to face stress alone.

With the right support and strategies, you can overcome its challenges and reclaim control over your life.

Click here to book a call with me now.

I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Emma G

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