Scribd: Why is stress awareness and stress relief important to you? Do you have any insight or research into how stress levels have increased recently?
Amy Morin: I spent several semesters teaching a stress management class at Northeastern University. Students took tests that indicated their stress levels, and they were always surprised by how stressed out they were on a daily basis. We know that big life events are stressful, like a death in the family or a move to a new city, but sometimes we forget how day-to-day stressors add up over time.
At Verywell Mind, we did a survey about stress levels over time. We discovered that stress over things like physical safety and parenting issues decreased as time passed. But, the one stressor that remained high, even as pandemic issues decreased, was financial stress. People were stressed about their financial situations more than anything else during the pandemic. While their fears about their health or parenting may have declined over time, their financial distress remained their top concern.
Scribd: How does reading (or listening to audiobooks) help you with stress?
Amy Morin: Reading is a vacation for my mind. I don't have to think about anything when I get lost in a good book.
I like to listen to audiobooks when I'm doing other things, like driving in the car or working out at the gym. It makes those things much more pleasant, which lowers my stress. In fact, I look forward to otherwise boring tasks — like cleaning — when I have a good book to listen to.
Scribd: What are your favorite books to help you escape from stress?
Amy Morin: I read a lot of memoirs and self-help to get a sense of who would be a good guest for The Verywell Mind Podcast. I love to read memoirs and self-help because it shows me how people think and what actions they take. Some of my favorite recent ones include This Is Me by Chrissy Metz and Living Fully by Mallory Ervin. Even though I'm technically reading them for work, it never feels like work. And the most exciting part is, I get to have conversations with many of them on my podcast.
Scribd: Do you have any other stress-relief tips or advice to those feeling overwhelmed?
Amy Morin: It's so important to take care of your body when you're feeling overwhelmed. Get plenty of sleep. Exercise regularly. Eat a healthy diet.
Clearly, those are often the first things we stop doing when we're overwhelmed. We think we don't have time to sleep or exercise and we reach for convenient food choices over healthy ones. But our minds won't work well when we neglect our bodies.
It's also helpful to incorporate regular stress-relief activities in your life. Whether there's a hobby that you love to do or a yoga class that you take, it's essential that we are taking action to relieve our stress on a regular basis.