You don't have to be a therapist to realize that people are more stressed out than ever. Spend 10 minutes on Facebook and you'll see people expressing concern about national politics, school violence, or whether their vacation destination is safe from terrorist threats.
According to a 2018 American Psychological Association survey, 69% of respondents said they're stressed about the country's future, up from 63% in 2017. Americans are stressed on the job, too, with another survey revealing that nearly half of all employees have cried on the job because of stress.
The time has never been better to start a business that will help people cope with the stress in their lives. Here are five calming business ideas that could be a good fit for your skills and interests.
1. Offer mermaid swimming lessons.
You read that right: Teach people how to swim like mermaids. Marielle Henault, founder of the AquaMermaid swimming school, says that swimming like a mermaid helps relieve stress through the calming activity of floating and doing underwater breath work. It also provides exercise, which lowers stress levels.
"Getting into a focused state of flow is well known to help calm the mind. It's similar to a moving meditation," says Henault, who offers a franchise program.
2. Buy a float spa franchise.
If you appreciate the relaxation benefits of floating but don't want to teach mermaids-to-be, consider a TrueREST™ Float Spa franchise.
People use flotation therapy to help them relax, get pain relief, and improve their sleep. Clients float in individual tanks or pods filled with 10 inches of skin-temperature water and 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts. The experience in a sensory- and gravity-free environment helps both mind and body relax and release stress.
3. Teach mindful knitting.
Jessica Meyrowitz, the founder of knitting kit site It's a . . . Yummy, leads mindful knitting workshops at spas and resorts around the country, while Heartknit's Sophie Thimonnier provides them in workplaces.
Mindful knitting is an approach that emphasizes the process, rather than the end product. As knitters concentrate on their needle movement, their brains calm. Research validates what knitters already know; a study published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy showed that knitting frequency is linked to relaxation and stress relief.
4. Sell stress-relieving products.
Many entrepreneurs have created products designed to help people manage stress. These range from rings that massage your fingers to herbal teas and aromatherapy kits.
Using an e-commerce platform such as Shopify or SamCart, you can create an online store that lets you sell these products as an affiliate. With affiliate marketing, you receive a commission for goods sold by using specially coded product links. Stock your virtual store with items from creators who have established affiliate programs, such as SensaCalm weighted blankets.
You also can earn commissions by registering for Amazon's affiliate program, Amazon Associates. You then link your store's product listings to their Amazon sales pages with your coded product URLs.
5. Provide a service that helps remove or reduce a common stressor.
One of the most common stressors for many people involves time—there's never enough of it. Help your fellow humans regain some of this valuable resource by becoming a dog walker, running errands, or preparing home-cooked meals.
Can you help with stress management? If so, offer in-house yoga and meditation classes for employees, as Catherine Tingey does, or present workplace-sponsored stress management programs like those offered by Laurie Sharp-Page and Sprouting Change.
Teri Dreher started NShore Patient Advocates to help patients feel less stressed about medical issues by providing support for making better-informed health care decisions. Andrea Zawieski, a Medicare specialist with T65 & Beyond, helps guide people through the often-stressful Medicare application process.
As you consider new business ideas for yourself that will help meet the universal need to manage stress, keep the best interests of the people you will serve in mind. When you start your business with that attitude, everyone benefits.