Stress Awareness Month – 6 Things Jamaicans Stress About

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Living in an advanced, civilized society means that we can not escape stress. Whether it’s from family, friends, work or school, stress can seep into every aspect of our lives. April is Stress Awareness Month, and it’s focus is on minimizing stress. Being aware of what stress is, what triggers it and how to manage it should be a top priority for overall physical, emotional and mental health.

With this focus, diGJamaica is highlighting elements that can cause stress, however we are taking a more light-hearted approach. After all, ‘kin teet kibba heart bun.’ Here are six things that stress out the average Jamaican:

  1. Taxes – What do taxes mean to Jamaicans? Less money, more stress. With the cost of living rising every day and the value of the dollar going down, Jamaicans stress about the amount of taxes they have to pay just to survive. From General Consumption Tax (GCT) to gas tax to property taxes, Jamaicans have plenty to worry about. Tax reform is definitely needed. Of course, we know that taxes have to be paid to support expenses related to building and technology infrastructure, health, public safety, environmental protection, education and other much needed resources. However, that doesn’t make the pocket hurt any less.
  2. Sports Football, cricket, swimming, track and field, and boxing competitions has stressed out many a Jamaican. Any sporting event has the capacity to make us pace, worry, bite our fingers, tense up and curse. From start to finish, sporting competitions have Jamaicans on the edge of their seats. Did the sprinter just run out of her lane? Was that an own goal? And referees can either be friend or foe at the drop of a hat due to the high level of passion. The amount of pressure on our athletes is also stressful. Disappoint yourself? Sad, but bearable. Disappoint Jamaica? Crushing.
  3. Long Lines – Any long line that Jamaicans have to sit or stand in to go about their day causes unnecessary strain. Depending on where we are in said line and how long the wait is, we may not be so patient. This state of mental and emotional stress from long lines sitting in traffic or waiting at the bank may necessitate a loud ‘word’…or two.
  4. Gas Prices – Need we say anymore?
  5. Food Jamaican cuisine is world renowned for being delicious. Jerk chicken, escovietch fish, rice and peas, gizzadas, grater cakes, and ackee and saltfish are just a few truly Jamaican dishes that can elicit tears of happiness from any hot blooded Jamaican – or tears of sadness it it is not prepared properly. Burnt chicken? Stress. Soft rice? Stress. No seasoning on the fish? Stress!
  6. Bills – Yes, we know that bills must be paid in order to receive services, but that doesn’t mean Jamaicans don’t feel burdened by the responsibility. Light, water, cable, phone, insurance, school bills and many more fill Jamaicans with dread. Don’t believe us? The next time you walk into a utility company’s office or bill payment location, look at the faces of your fellow Jamaicans and you’ll understand. But that may just be due to the long lines we also stress out about. Who knows?

Whatever makes you worry or creates anxiety, managing stress is very important.  In the immortal words of Robert ‘Nesta’ Marley,

“Don’t worry about a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin’: “Don’t worry about a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

Can you add more to the list? Drop us a comment below.