Stress is a very common condition to live with in our society. Every adult person has known the feeling of stress, and most have felt it for an extended period of time. Mental health specialists estimate that adults experience stress at a greater rate today than any other time in history due to mental disorders, heavy expectations (both real and perceived), an overwhelming amount of information to process and exposure to negative realities. Many things come together to create the condition of stress, and more awareness needs to be brought to the matter.
Sometimes stress can simply be attributed to a mental disorder. Stress is an aspect of essentially every mental disorder recorded. Mental disorders damage a person’s ability to cope and process reality in a sound way, making their lives more volatile and out of control. Stress is a natural response to this condition, even if the individual is not aware that they have a mental disorder.
The expectations placed on the average working adult are heavier than they have been at any other time in history. In order to stay competitive globally, employers increasingly expect more from employees over time rather than less. Since the recession of 2007, for example, the job market of North America has been deemed an “employers market,” meaning that the higher than average jobless rate gives more power to employers than employees, forcing heavy performance expectations onto employees.
This is a trend in both the United States and in Canada, causing employee stress levels to sky rocket. In the United States, the working class felt the blow, and suddenly trades workers, teachers and administrative professionals alike felt the pressures of working more than one person’s job. In Canada, agricultural trades, lumber mill employees and oil workers of Fort McMurray employment were forced to adjust to double shifts and back-to-back work stints.
Because of the internet and the global spread of marketing and media, there is a vastly greater amount of information to process every day than there used to be. We receive messages from ads, commercials, news sources, websites, television programs and other media that bombard our senses and over fill our minds to the point of stress. Though this is something we are forced to live with, mental health professionals feel unanimously that this is not good for mental health. In the same vein, we are routinely exposed to tragedy, disaster, violence and other catastrophic world events through these same mediums that make us experience compassion fatigue, which induces stress.