Why is stress so prevalent in our modern society? In decades past, people used to look to the future as a time when they could kick back and relax because components of modern technology were taking care of their everyday tasks such as cleaning the house. People conceived of modern inventions that would make their lives easier and as a result, happier.
Why is stress so prevalent in our modern society?
Fast forward to our modern society with devices that can connect to the Internet immediately.
Our present society has experienced more advances in technology than all of the past generations combined. We now enjoy access to the Internet 24/7 thanks to global trade and never-ending technological advances.
A laptop or home PC assembled in 2012 would be at least a million times more advanced and efficient than the computer that was integral to the launch of the Apollo rocket to the moon.
By all accounts, we are living the dream.
But why are we still so stressed? Or even more importantly, why are our stress levels so much more significant than our predecessors?
Scientists and economists have all tried to solve this riddle. When did our era become so completely inundated with stress?
Studies that attempt to tackle the “stress puzzle” are themselves quite complex. However, there are some key elements that present themselves as the root of the problem:
Identifying the Stress Root
Less Leisure Time – Many would consider tending to the household and taking care of the children as a stressful situation. However, studies show that we spend the same amount of time taking care of our homes and families now as our counterparts did in the 1910’s – approximately 52 hours per week.
One factor could be that we’re spending more time on activities such as grocery shopping and not many people consider those types of activities to be leisurely. Even though we have lots of modern appliances to essentially “do the work” for us, the time that has been freed up has not been allotted for leisure, it has been given over to more unavoidable activities and chores.
Stressors Abound – Ideally a person who is continually stressed at work would be able to come home and unwind after work. There are undoubtedly some people who have accomplished this, however for 60% of adults in America, that scenario isn’t the reality. More than 50% of Americans experience the same level of stress both at work and at home.
There is no reprieve at home from the stress of the day because, in fact, both environments carry equal amounts of stress.
Harmful Societal Standards – Our modern society is still ruled by double standards.
This is especially prevalent in the workplace. In spite of breakthroughs in gender equality, there are many people who still believe in the idea that an independent and forward-thinking woman is largely undesirable.
Yet, a man who doesn’t exhibit the same set of skills is also labeled a failure with regard to his professional character.
The double standards that are so prevalent in the workplace are quite toxic. They encourage aggressiveness and competition in males but don’t reward the drive and initiative in females. This results in a very stressful workplace for both men and women.
Chronic Overwork – At least a quarter of all working Americans say that they don’t have enough hours in the day to finish the work they have to do. As a result, many adults are forced to overwork themselves which then leads to burning out. Unless the worker is intentional about doing something to reduce the stress levels at home and work, recovering from burn out is extremely difficult.
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Fragmentation – At present, the divorce rate in the United States is approximately 50%. This reality results in a significant number of single-parent households, oftentimes with only one breadwinner in the home. Because of this, many single parents (largely moms) are forced to work twice or three times as hard just to meet the daily expenses of the family. This situation alone is extremely stressful and then consider that leisure time is just about nonexistent. All other free time is diverted to taking care of the household and the people in it.