Why are people more stressed than ever before?
Updated: Sep 17, 2019
Ever wondered why most people are more stressed than ever before? This is a pretty huge question, the answer to which lies in a complex web of changing social beliefs, systems, dynamics and technology!
To begin with, the very fibre of our social fabric had changed. Gender roles are no longer well defined in most modern societies, and that changes the way family units operate, interact and negotiate the course of their relationships. Often people are caught in a trap of deeply ingrained conditioning and expectations, and breaking away leads to, guilt and often causes internal or external conflict. For example, take a case where both partners are working but somehow the woman always feels, or is made to feel, that she needs to be the one really managing the smooth functioning of the household – manage the food, cleanliness, children’s academics, and so on. This not only adds physical stress but also emotional stress, as even though she knows and feels that she is an equal material contributor, and therefore should be an equal domestic contributor, she either is not, due to societal expectations, or her own residual conditioning of guilt.
Secondly, the one key contributor to our happiness and wellbeing is our interaction with our community, friends and closed ones. Unfortunately, communities and friends are now moving to the more the amorphous digital space, where relationships and interactions are often with people we’ve never meet. And digital relationships with people we know and meet, are stripped off their positive impact, as the benefits only come with real flesh-and-blood interaction. I mean, who on earth ever felt better after receiving an emoticon hug? No real interaction means no real comfort, no actual exchange of energies, and a a resulting sense of loneliness, even emptiness.
Thirdly, there is such a widespread culture of materialism that people actually judge their own worth, and that of others, based on their material accomplishments. The job you have, house you live in, car you drive, clothes you wear, gadgets you own, and holidays you take, are all the new indicators of a person’s worth in our materialistic society. This puts immense stress on people, who push themselves hard, even in unhealthy work environments, have lesser and lesser time for themselves and their personal relationships, and find themselves constantly swimming upstream in their effort to do more, with the ultimate aim of 'having more'. Happiness and authenticity morph from being fundamental values and ideals, into fads and catchphrases, and the cycle of stress keeps getting reinforced.
Very importantly, there is the monster called Technology. Sure it’s made our life easier in many ways, but it has also brought with it an unprecedented cloudburst of stress and related disorders due to digital addiction and dependence. People are literally wired all time. There is a constant need to stay connected to the world, and most of it is just noise and clutter. We are constantly spending time checking our social media accounts (and being plagued by Facebook Depression caused due to constant comparison, where other peoples lives seem so much better than ours ), reading news alerts, or engaging in superfluous online interactions or surfing, even at the expense of our sleep and personal development. In the business world, people expect to be connected and replying to mails and messages at all odd times. In fact, the problem with digital technology is that people never seem to have any “off” time and this creates immense stress on the mind.
And then there is the strange paradox of the stressed out Millennials or Generation Y, the most stressed out generation yet. Apart from money and work being their significant stressors, optionality is a massive stressor for them too. Yes, the problem of having too many options is real problem after all. It is now proven that as much as we idealize choice, we dislike too much of it. Too many options create confusion, regret, indecision, lack of focus, obsessive thoughts, and of course, immense stress.
There is no simple or singular solution to the problem of stress, as it is a complex problem that is linked to many aspects of our lives. However, the most effective way to deal with stress is a combination of mindfulness techniques, combined with counselling or Life Coaching. The most effective therapies and programmes for people dealing with severe stress are those designed specifically for an individual, rather than a large group. Group workshops on mindfulness and stress management are very effective when dealing with mild to medium stress levels, such as those in a work environment. In most cases, stress can be controlled without medication and an alternative mental health and mindfulness programme. Feel free write to me for more details.
Love and happiness!
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