Stress Today vs. Stress of the Past

More and more you hear the average person talking about how life in general has them stressed out. Whether it is social problems from your family, colleagues or friends, or monetary problems caused by your job or bills, most people today have a lot on their plate to worry about each day. Thinking through this has led many people, both ordinary and from the scientific community, to pose the question: Are we more stressed out now than ever before?

It seems like the majority of people would most certainly respond yes to this question, and for very good reason. Changes have occurred over recent years that have made the atmosphere we live in more cluttered and busy than ever. In addition, there is arguably more pressure than ever to be truly successful with the recent recession and general social values. One poll taken from MSNBC health asks a spin on this question that deals with those who are coming in to this generation, asking: Do you think young people have more stress now than in the past?

A new study has found that five times as many high school and college students are dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues as youth of the same age who were studied in the Great Depression era. Are young people more miserable now? What’s causing their anxiety and depression? What can be done? would like to know what you think.

The results of this poll, depicted above, are very much what one would expect the answer to such a question to be, with 71.7% answering, “Yes. There are more external pressures to look perfect, be wealthy and successful;” and 28.3% answering, “No. It’s always hard to be young. Young people are just more self-aware now.” This certainly shows that, regardless of the evidence behind it, people seem to at least think that kids specifically are much more stressed than their elder counterparts.

Regardless of how society has changed, there is fairly undeniable evidence that we live in an age that is simply much more chaotic than the world of the past. E-mail, text messaging, and the internet’s overflow of knowledge has led to many professionals coining the phrase, “information overload,” a phrase that has come to represent that ever-growing access that we have to unfiltered information. For students, this manifests itself in the form of a vast amount of research and tools, resources that can be either helpful or overwhelming. For adults, this means more data to process and more sensory imagery to wade through then ever before.

Other negative effects of technology are increasing stress through electromagnetic waves and constant exposure to traces of radiation due to the electronics that we use constantly. Things like cell phones, clock radios, and microwaves are constantly around us and constantly emitting signals that we subconsciously pick up. These undetectable stimuli can add up over time to overwhelm a person just as any other issue in one’s life can.

Job stress is the leading source of stress for adults but children, teenagers, college students and the elderly feel various pressures from increased crime, school and college pressures, unhealthy lifestyle habits, to the erosion of family and religious values.

The nature of stress has changed over time from primarily physical threats to psychological and emotional threats such as fighting with co-workers or family members which occur much more often. The problem is the body reacts the same way to both threats and therefore because there are more threats in today’s world there is more stress which also leads to more disease and more pain.


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