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We are more stressed now than ever before in human history…
Our North American Society is in the throes of a Global change that is pressed by rapid changes in technology. The dawning of the “Information Age” in the early 1980’s has fed an avalanche of new information that has made the world much smaller and created an evolution into a 24/7 (24 hours per day and 7 days per week) society. We are more “plugged in” to the information networks than ever before. We struggle with keeping up with incoming e-mails, calls, faxes, pagers, instantaneous communications/updates on the world wide web, and the “dread” that something might happen when we are out of the room. We drive our cars distracted because we, or the people in the next vehicle, are on our cell-phones or watching videos or operating fax machines. We watch television and find that our news-people are speaking on one topic and the graphics moving at the bottom of the screen are offering information about a different event. We purchase new computers and have to “update their software” as soon as the new computers are out of their box. We have “cable TV” or “dish TV” and have more choices than we can comfortably use so we have to get “Tivo’s” who can record programs, with commercials removed, that we do not have time to watch. (Television has not gotten any better, there is just so much more of it available.)
We are told that the stress management techniques that our parents or grandparents may have used are not healthy or appropriate. Remember the “cocktail hour” where sophisticated people would sit and smoke a cigarette, have a cocktail (or two), and talk about the days events before the dinner at home and possible occasional trip to the PTA meeting. We do not have time for this any longer and smoking is now bad for us, dirty, expensive and drinking is dangerous, let alone, a “bad” role model for our children. Heck, we do not have time to prepare dinners and gather the whole family to sit around the table for conversation without media distractions.
We must face the fact that, for most of us, or world has changed. One coping strategy that I personally and professionally do not agree with as a coping strategy, is the increased availability and use of coffee/expresso as a tool to keep pace with the frenetic rate of new information and changes in technology. We need better rituals than $3 lattes or expressos. Do not get me wrong, I love technology and new information. I do not think that we as a society have quite been able to cope with the increased pressures other than with “Denial” or convenient and well advertised medications. We do not have practical and functional role-models for living comfortably (and healthy) in the Information Age.
We must acknowledge the situation (control Denial) and then develop personal strategies for understanding, and then controlling, our stress levels. I know that by using prevention, you can save yourself time and energy. You can Get Back in Control of your life and improve the quality of your work, productivity, relationships, health, and your future by learning and then regularly practicing the stress management techniques. Please consider using these tools to help promote your well being but also consider the important impact you can have by being a “Healthy” Role Model for the people around you. Co-workers, family, friends, and especially your children need positive examples for surviving in the ever increased fast pace existence that new technology will bring. 20 minutes of deep relaxation or meditation, gentle movement techniques like yoga, breathing techniques, self-hypnosis, or positive visualizations combined with proper nutrition and regular exercise will be the lasting replacements for the “Cocktail Hours” of the 1950’s. In the long run, once mastered, stress management make you more productive, happier, and healthier.
If you are looking to control your stress, please investigate the Stress Education Center’s Online Stress Management Program
Please take good care of yourself.