Outsmarting Stress with Mindfulness During Stress Awareness Month in April

StressImpactsEveryoneS-T-R-E-S-S. Stress impacts everyone. It happens when we experience pressure or a situation that exceeds our ability to cope. It’s also one of the main sources of wear-and-tear on our spirits, minds, bodies, and relationships.

In the United States where I live, the most common sources of stress include work, money, the current political climate, the future of the nation, violence, and crime. Guess which ones are the most common among adults? Here’s how the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2017 Stress in America survey answered the question.

  • #1 – The Future of the Nation, 63% of adults (specific issues include health care – 43%, economy – 35%, trust in government – 32%, crime and hate crimes – 31%, terrorist attacks – 30%, high taxes – 28%, social security – 26%, and government controversies and scandals – 25%
  • #2 – Money, 62% of adults
  • #3 – Work, 61% of adults
  • #4 – Current Political Climate, 57% of adults
  • #5 – Violence and Crime, 51% of adults


In its 2018 Stress in America survey, the APA documented how young Americans between the ages of 15 and 21 (referred to as Generation Z or Gen Z) are impacted by stress. The survey found that high-profile issues, such as sexual harassment and gun violence, are significant stressors for Gen Z. Also, Gen Z is most likely of all generations to report poor mental health and significantly more likely to seek professional help for mental health issues. See more below.

  • Gen Z Stressed About Safety: 75 percent of Gen Z report mass shootings as a significant source of stress, and nearly as many (72 percent) say the same about school shootings or the possibility of them occurring
  • Gen Z Stressed About Nation: Gen Z’s reported average stress level related to the current state of the nation is 5.4 (on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is “little or no stress” and 10 is “a great deal of stress”). It is on par with the national average for adults overall regarding the state of the nation (5.3). More than half experience the current political climate as a source of stress (55 percent). Around two-thirds of Gen Z feel very or somewhat significantly stressed about the nation’s future (68 percent) and do not believe the nation is moving toward being stronger than ever (66 percent).
  • Gen Z Stressed About News: They are stressed out about news related to mass shootings (75%), the rise in suicide rates (62%), climate change and global warming (58%), the separation and deportation of immigrant and migrant families (57%), and sexual harassment and assault reports (53%).
  • Gen Z Personal Life Stressors: Money is a significant stress for 81 percent of Gen Zs. Work is their second biggest stressor (77 percent).  Their third biggest stressor is health-related concerns (75%). The economy is their fourth biggest stressor (48%).
  • How Stress Impacts Gen Zs of Color: They are more likely to report stress around certain issues more than their white peers. For example, four in 10 Gen Zs of color experience stress related to their personal debt (41 percent) and housing instability (40 percent) compared to three in 10 white Gen Zs (30 percent) who experience stress related to personal debt and less than one quarter (24 percent) who experience stress related to housing instability. Also, 34 percent of Gen Zs of color report experiencing stress related to hunger and getting enough to eat compared to  23 percent of white Gen Zs.

What are the most common sources of stress in your life?

How do you manage them?


I manage stress with the support of mindfulness practices including meditation, yoga, reiki, journaling, mindful moments throughout my day, fitness workouts, walking, art-making, dancing, sipping tea, reading Oprah and Mindful magazines, laughing and spending time with family and friends, listening to music, participating in Deepak and Oprah’s 21-day meditation challenges (offered 4 times per year), and going on meditation and yoga retreats.

In case you are wondering what mindfulness is, I thought I’d share my two-part definition.

Mindfulness is our birthright. Each of us is born with the ABILITY TO BE AWARE of what’s happening in our spirit, heart, mind, body, and surroundings.

Mindfulness is also a practice that we can CHOOSE to PAY ATTENTION to what’s happening in our spirit, heart, mind, body and surroundings ON PURPOSE in the PRESENT MOMENT and WITHOUT JUDGMENT.


Just in case you are looking for resources to outsmart stress, I thought I would share several podcast resources and a schedule of my April classes and workshops this month. May they support you in navigating stress with more ease and grace. Also, drop me a line at ananda@anandaleeke.com to let me know how they have helped you. Feel free to share them with your family, friends, and colleagues too.




ONLINE WORKSHOP ON APRIL 6, 3-5PM ET VIA ZOOM: Practice self-care by giving yourself the gift of an evening of mindful reflection that allows you to become still and explore what’s been happening in your life. During the workshop, you will recharge with mindful living practices including breathing and meditation. You’ll use mindful creativity exercises to reflect on how you are showing up in your life, relationships, career, and/or business. Also, you’ll get help in creating a game plan for navigating and celebrating your next 30-90 days. REGISTER ONLINE ($35).

DC WORKSHOP ON APRIL 7, 6:30-8:30PM AT QI KRATOM CBD TEA, 1517 U STREET, NW: Join me for a self-care workshop that includes meditation, deep breathing and gentle office yoga exercises (chair and standing yoga poses), reflection and journaling, release and forgiveness, action planning for next 30-90 days, and celebration of Y-O-U. REGISTER ONLINE ($35).


DC WEEKLY CLASSES: If you are in the Washington, DC area in April and looking for ways to outsmart stress, join me at my Thriving Mindfully in the City class on Sundays, April 7, 21, and 28 (no class on April 14) from 2-3 p.m. at the Eaton Workshop’s Wellness Center, 1201 K Street, NW ($20 – register online).

Also, I teach the Mindful Monday Meditation class as a part of the #ThrivingMindfully Meetup Group on Mondays, April 8, 15, 22, and 29 from 6:15-7:30 p.m. at Qi Kratom CBD Tea, 1517 U Street, NW (free). The #ThrivingMindfully Meetup Group is celebrating its first year anniversary this month. Visit Thriving Mindfully Meetup Group’s page for more information.


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