I read recently that social media is increasing our stress level. A while back I heard that, more specifically, email was raising our blood pressure. Long ago, we learned that watching the news was making us increasingly anxious. So…by the sound of it, everyone in this country is about as nutty as I am. I mean, really, it’s almost impossible to get everything done. There are jobs and family and household chores and bills and a thousand other things to worry about. No wonder our generation is strung so tight, right?

But let’s think about that. We’re stressed because we have jobs that allow us to literally live like kings. Consider this: A couple hundred years ago even royalty wouldn’t be allowed the luxuries almost every single American now enjoys.

How about that family that gets us all wound up? Sure, relatives can make you crazy. But imagine how you’d feel if you knew your baby had a thirty percent chance of dying in infancy?

And bills…we all have bills. And sometimes they honestly are impossible to pay. But what’s going to happen if we don’t pay them? Will we be sent to debtor’s prison? Will we starve to death? Chances are good that even if we lose our homes with their two car garages and climate controlled everything, we’ll still be able to live in the type of comfort that was absolutely unheard of just a few short decades ago.

So why are we so wired? Is it because we live ridiculously unnatural lifestyles, lacking in fresh air, exercise, and actual food? Is it just our innate desire to maintain the status quo? Is it because we are in an endless cycle to outdo the Jones? Or is it something deeper? Something so hardwired into us that we have to make trouble for ourselves even when there is no real trouble to be found.

What do you think? What is the culprit to our burgeoning stress load, and what do we do to combat it?

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14 Responses to Frazzled

  1. Very helpful altering of perspective. Thanks.
    I’ve pondered this very subject and for myself I know, I’m the cause of my stress. For example – I have a perfectly reasonable job and I am writing for the enjoyment of writing. So, why do I put stress on myself to write well enough to be published? It’s internal. Knowing that doesn’t really change it though.

  2. Mary Louise says:

    Hi Lois: I refuse to have a Facebook page, get Linked In, tweet or whatever it’s called. I have an IPhone for work and can barely use it — takes me 10 minutes to make a phone call. I’m hopefully hapless with electronic stuff. Connected? Not me…..I’m thankful I don’t live out loud

  3. loisgreiman says:

    Judy, it IS amazing how much pressure we put on ourselves, isn’t it? I myself am alwayssssss competing in something that makes me crazy….mostly equestrian events, and although I love them I wonder why I can’t just enjoy my horses calmly and simply. The same is true with my writing. I don’t have to enter contests and take on speaking engagements that freak me out…yet I do. Hmmmm… There may be something wrong with me.

  4. leannebanks says:

    Lois, great blog. Sometimes I think it’s good to just back away from everything that’s not vitally necessary. For me, it’s also good to get away from surburbia and get a chance to enjoy a little nature – a lake, a walk among the trees, a trip to the ocean. That’s how I can experience a little peace.

  5. loisgreiman says:

    You’re so right, Leanne. Take a step back and breathe. Good advice.

  6. Linda says:

    I think that we have become a society that WANTS instant gratification- the beiggest, best, most stunning, winningest whatever. It took me having to loose everything to learn that it was not worth it. If there was one thing that I learned is the things I lost were just things and that I should be happy with my life. I live on a very strict budget and have to work to get things ( no credit card for me- and that was a choice I glady recommend!) and if I don’t get it right away well then it is worth the wait even more. Is there still stress in my life? Yes but it is much more managed.

  7. superauntkx9 says:

    I know very few people who do not have stress in thier lives. Mine stress comes from both money and family problems.. But then again, I think that is what most people would say their stress comes from and I also have the added stress by my health problems… Thank god for my books, because they keep me sane… Reading a great stress releaver… more people should do it.

  8. michelehauf says:

    I agree with Judy, Judy, Judy, that we only have stress if we put it upon ourselves. I don’t think the word exists in my dictionary. I’ve never thought ‘I’m stressed’. I just look at tough situations more as a challenge, not something that should make me ‘stressful’.
    Everyone has their own way of labeling things.

  9. Kylie Brant says:

    Really thought-provoking post, Lois. And it certainly puts things in perspective doesn’t it? Perhaps because some of those things didn’t happen in our lifetimes, they can’t be factored into our perspectives. But it’s true, we live like kings. Cindy and I hit Catalina Island and visited the Wrigley mansion while in California. The mansion was lovely, but striking in the fact that it wasn’t lavish in the least, according to today’s standards. The rooms were spacious and the view breathtaking…but our standards have changed. Not certain that’s a good thing. It occurred to me last night that reading the news and Facebook before bedtime might be adding to my inability to sleep. It’s back to reading for a while before bed for me!

  10. What an interesting blog. We should be so incredibly grateful to live in these times. No bears and wolves to fear when we step outside. Vaccinations, clean food and water, antibiotics, the ability to travel great distances for leisure. And yet we find other ways to be stressed. We are so lucky, really!

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