Stressed to the Max
Conversations with friends and colleagues these days often are peppered with concerns about stress. People are regularly talking about being stressed, recovering from stress or avoiding stress. It’s a word that has become so common that its very commonness tells us something.
It’s not our imagination. We do live in a world of increasing stress. Modern Americans may not have to deal with our ancient ancestors’ life and death stressors like cave lions and lack of central heating. We aren’t stressed as our grandparents were with two world wars and a major Depression. But we are experiencing our own sources of stress that are no less anxiety-producing.
Many families have members risking their lives fighting wars or disease in faraway places. Others have people they love fighting crime and poverty here at home. Shootings in schools and theaters and malls make us feel less safe in more places. The dive in the economy over the last seven years and the high unemployment rate have made people keenly aware that life can change for the worse in an instant. We worry because there are very real things to worry about. Further, we can’t escape it: Our technology keeps us aware of tragedies, dangers, and catastrophes on a daily basis.
Our constant use of smartphones, tablets and other devices can cause equally constant overstimulation of the brain. According to greatschools.org, such overstimulation increases stress and lack of satisfaction with life, causes headaches and makes it hard to focus. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg found that those who constantly use a computer or their mobile phone can develop stress, sleep disorders and depression.
Despite the fact that a happy marriage means less stress, the number of adults who have never married is at an all-time high. Over 40 percent of kids born today are born to single parents. The divorce rate is still between 40 and 50 percent. This all translates to more people dealing with the stress of looking for and maybe not finding a partner. More people either are dealing with the stress of putting up with bad partners or handling the stress of breaking up. More people are managing the stress of single parenting and more people are dealing with the stress of trying to live decently on one income.
More than half of Americans say they fight with friends and loved ones because of stress, and more than 70 percent say they experience real physical and emotional symptoms from it. How we deal with it may even affect our long-term mental health, according to a study that came out from the University of California at Irvine in 2013.
Have I stressed you out yet? Even thinking about all the ways we are stressed can be stressful! How can we find some peace?
Fortunately, we do have some say in how stressed we are. Try some of the following stressbusters to give yourself a break: