When life becomes stressful, these 6 practical strategies can help lighten your load.

Despite being a million times luckier than many other nations and people around the world, we can falsely believe that our first-world problems are the end of the world.

Stress for people can stem from one or a variety of factors that occur at the same time such as: financial pressures, health concerns, career issues, to turbulent relationships that result in divorce, or ongoing marital issues. The level of stress depends on the individual’s ability to manage stress and their response to it.

Lighten Your Load From Stress

In 2016, research conducted by Statistic Brain, found the 5 primary reasons Americans experience stress: 1. Job pressure, 2. Financial, 3. Health, 4. Relationships and 5. Poor Nutrition.

Stress is created from the reality of our life not meeting our expectations of what our life should look like. We often cause ourselves unnecessary stress from becoming fixated on life being a certain way only to find out that it moves in a completely different direction.

When it all gets too much and you have no idea where to turn or what to do.

Here are 6 ways to lighten your load:

1. ‘A Palatial Home’

Financial stress is the most common form of stress and usually comes from the mortgage. This is the biggest chain around your neck that weighs you down.

Findings from a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association reported 64% of Americans state that money is ‘somewhat’ or ‘a very significant’ source of stress. Whilst few would argue that a beautiful home is something to be proud of, it is not worth the cost of living each day like you are drowning in a deep, dark ocean.

Avoid becoming like the majority of people who struggle and suffer in order to impress others. Reduce the financial pressure by selling or renting the family home. Find a ‘palatial home’ within your budget in the same suburb or venture out into a new suburb.

Allow yourself some freedom from the unnecessary burdens of financial pressure.

2. Your Own Chauffeur

As a massive lover of these beautiful machines, I completely understand the magnetic pull, appreciate the beauty not to mention the unforgettable power of owning and driving a luxury vehicle.

That said, I do not endorse people being suffocated from purchasing a beautiful machine they can ill afford. Unless an expensive car is a necessary tool of the trade for your job, why not sell your car and use an Uber or hire a ‘share’ car such as Zipcar, Getaround or Car2go to get around particularly if you live close or in the city.

This strategy alone can save you a small fortune that you could invest elsewhere.

3. Discover The ‘Real Meaning’ Of Stress

Visit a third world country or volunteer with a charity to learn what ‘stress’ really means. These people drink contaminated water that they could see them become violently ill or die, have no access to adequate medical facilities and live life terrified that their child or entire family could be taken, attacked or killed by their own government, that is ‘stress’.

Reading these stories or witnessing it first hand makes you evaluate and appreciate your life so much more. Take a leaf from the successful entrepreneur, Cole Hatter who hit rock bottom before spending months helping those less fortunate in Mexico.

Understand that if you have a place to call home every night, clothes on your back, food on the table and money in your pocket, you are far better off than millions of other people around the world.

When we reach out to help others, we help heal ourselves.

4. Become A Life-Rescuer

Dogs are happier than humans for they live in the present moment. Dogs are such loving, beautiful creatures that teach us humans so much about life and what it truly means to live. Loving a dog boosts your health, reduces stress and generates more laughter and happiness.

Debra Tranter founder of Oscar’s Law, knows how true this is when her rescue dog changed her life plus her career and life’s mission. She now saves thousands of dogs each day from a life of cruelty and death.

You save a life by rescuing a beautiful dog from a shelter, they ‘save’ you in return.

5. Live Simply

As consumers within society, we collect so much unnecessary furniture, clothes, white goods, tools and kitchen appliances. Have a garage sale or donate your unwanted items to your favorite charity.

Just ask the woman who created an empire from it. Marie Kondo published a global best seller called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up. Marie encourages others to get rid of stuff they no longer need.

Living simply means less to clean, finding things is easier and allows more space for things you absolutely love.

6. Ditch ‘Toxicity’

You become like the 5 people you associate with, so if you hang around ‘toxic’ people you will know that they drain your energy and leave you feeling unenthusiastic about life.

Whether you choose to part ways or spend less time with toxic people it gives you more energy to focus those who energize you.

The truth of the matter is by learning to navigate adversity, one can sincerely appreciate the beauty and strength found from within. The same as having the patience to observe an oak tree change and grow over many years.

Everything in life takes time, whilst we are all on our own journey like the leaves on a tree, we are all connected by the same roots. When we navigate adversity, with a little bit of patience we can learn to appreciate and take pure delight in life’s sweetest moments.

This article was originally published on Inc.com