In the fast-paced world nearly everyone lives in today, stress is an ever-present possibility. Just-in-time manufacturing, instant news from around the world, computers and a host of other modern technologies are a great benefit. But along with them comes quicker deadlines, instant notification of bad news and more communication to deal with.
But no one is going to slow down the world, nor would many of us want to. At the same time, it’s helpful to realize that with more technology comes more options. Some of those options allow us to find new ways to deal with the internal and external factors that can form the basis of stress.
You may be unlucky enough to have a boss who imposes unreasonable deadlines to meet pointless work milestones. But many have the option now to telecommute, work flexible hours and take extended leave for pregnancy and other family situations.
There may be myriad challenges in the modern world, but there are a variety of new tools to deal with them. Computers can pile up work faster, but they also allow us to get more done with less labor. They also enable us to find those with similar interests who may live thousands of miles away. In decades past, that would have been nearly impossible, except for the occasional convention in a distant city.
Psychology, though still in its infancy as a science, is starting to compile a set of good data on neurobiology, nutrition and a host of other factors relevant to stress. Figuring out useful treatments from this bewildering array of studies will take time, but progress is being made.
Sports and diet have become much more scientific than they were a generation or two ago. As tools to fight stress, exercise and a proper diet are now recognized as twins in one of the most effective strategies for combating stress.
While millions still work hard, basics like housing and food, transportation and medical treatment constitute a smaller percentage of income for most than they did in generations past. It’s not uncommon for two-driver families to have more than two vehicles today.
Certainly there is no shortage of potential stressors. To listen to the nightly newscast is to see a picture of a world about to come apart at the seams. And, yet, we endure. It may be that there is more to the lives most people live than we see on the TV.
Dealing with difficult problems is, well, difficult. But that need not lead to stress. That results from a viewpoint that sees the dilemma between “I must” and “I can’t” as unsolvable. But there are many more methods available today to overcome “I can’t” and much more freedom to deny that “I must.” Toss the dilemma aside and declare your independence from stress.