Why is modern society consumed by stress?

Despite the fact that technology is designed to make everyday life easier, and the Internet allows you to communicate and work from different parts of the world, most people suffer from severe stress. Alas, it is precisely the ubiquity of technology and the tendency to always be «in touch» created an environment in which people remain «on guard» most part of time. Email, social media and smartphones actually keep us from relaxing. And when you add work pressure, economic conditions, or social and political changes to all this, stress levels increase markedly. So, is today's society the most stressful in history? To answer this question, it is necessary to consider several points of view. First of all, keep in mind that stress is not a new phenomenon. Our ancestors, for example, faced numerous stressors, including the struggle to survive, find food, or protect themselves from predators and enemies, but the sources of stress have evolved. So what is happening to us today and why?

Why is modern society consumed by stress? Modern society suffers from stress. But why? Image: media.gq.com. Photo.

Modern society suffers from stress. But why? Image: media.gq.com


  • 1 Stress factors
  • 2 Short-term and long-term stress
  • 3 Pandemic and stress
  • 4 Stress, the brain and Alzheimer's
  • 5 Gadgets and stress

Stress factors
  • 5 Gadgets and stress
  • Stress factors
  • h2>

    While in the past stressors were more immediate and physical, in modern society they are often more chronic and psychological in nature. Experts say the main reason for this state of affairs is pressure in the workplace, economic problems or social demands.

    Note that scientists have long been trying to quantify and compare stress levels in different eras. For example, work conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) states that stress levels in the United States have been increasing in recent decades, and the main sources of stress include work, money, the economic situation, and political and social uncertainty.

    Stress factors. Work, economic and political conditions are among the leading stress factors. Image: wholefamilymd.org. Photo.

    Work, economic and political conditions are among the leading stress factors. Image: wholefamilymd.org

    To always keep abreast of the latest news from the world of science and high technology, subscribe to our channel on Telegram! This way you definitely won’t miss anything interesting!

    Recall that stress itself is a physiological and psychological reaction to perceived challenges and threats, which has been an integral part of human life throughout the history of our species. To put it simply, without stress, humanity simply could not survive.

    Short-term and long-term stress

    From an evolutionary perspective, our bodies are designed to cope with acute (short-term) stress. However, chronic (long-term) stress can have detrimental health effects. This is confirmed by American neuroendocrinologist Robert Sapolsky, who notes that chronic stress can lead to health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and mental disorders.

    In his book “Why Zebras Don’t Have Heart Attacks. The Psychology of Stress,” a Stanford University professor explains why the chronic stress common in modern life may be more destructive than the acute stress our ancestors faced.

    If We turn the stress response on too often or fail to turn it off; when the stressful event is over, the stress response can eventually become destructive. Most often, stress-related diseases are disorders caused by an excessive response to stress, writes Sapolsky.

    Short-term and long-term stress. We highly recommend reading the book by Robert Sapolsky. Image: kitobz.info. Photo.

    We highly recommend reading Robert Sapolsky's books. Image: kitobz.info

    It is important to understand that stress has no valence and is an ordinary physiological reaction designed to address vital functions. However, when short-term stress becomes chronic, everything gets out of control. Ultimately, we are biological machines and do evil primarily due to stress. “The main problem of humanity is chronic stress, it destroys everything,” says the professor. And it’s hard to disagree with him.

    More on the topic: Chronic stress provokes the development of cancer

    Pandemic and stress

    Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a tipping point in stress indicators. This phenomenon has exacerbated stress and negative emotions on a global level, as shown by numerous scientific studies. Thus, according to Gallup's 2022 annual report on global emotional experiences, the second year of the pandemic (2021) was even more emotionally difficult than the first. This analysis was based on surveys of adults in 122 countries, taking into account both negative and positive experiences.

    However, even though the world is going through a difficult phase when it comes to emotions, the latest data has offered a little more hope. Positive results showed a slight recovery in 2022 after a significant decline in 2021, according to Gallup's 2023 Global Emotions Report. Despite this, negative experiences remain at historically high levels.

    Pandemic and stress. The pandemic has had a negative impact on stress levels around the world. Image: calpsychiatry.com. Photo.

    The pandemic has had a negative impact on stress levels around the world. Image: calpsychiatry.com

    There is no direct evidence as to why the positivity rate was higher in 2022, but it can be assumed that there was relief as people began to emerge from the effects of the pandemic, — Ray commented to the CNN news channel.

    but even despite some improvement, in 2022 the level of stress in society remained unchanged (neither increased nor decreased). “There was no upward movement, which is a positive sign, but it also remained at the highest level that we measured,” experts note. This stagnation at the highest recorded level of negative experience is indicative of a global situation in which stress, anxiety and sadness continue to be prominent, according to researchers.

    Read also: Severe COVID-19 is equivalent to 20 years of age years

    According to the report, the countries with the greatest negative experiences are Afghanistan and Sierra Leone, where political and security problems predominate. In particular, Afghanistan experienced record levels of anxiety (80%), stress (74%) and sadness (61%).

    Stress, the brain and Alzheimer

    Research findings also raise concerns , recently published in The Lancet, the results of which show a link between chronic stress and the development of Alzheimer's disease.

    Some people have the biological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease – proteins called amyloid and tau that glue the brain together – but do not have symptoms of the disease. Researchers speculate that this may be due to the fact that some people accumulate so-called «cognitive reserve» – the ability of the brain to find new ways to solve problems and overcome them.

    Stress, the brain and Alzheimer's. Stress itself is also associated with faster cognitive decline and an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Image: news.ki.se. Photo.

    Stress itself is also associated with faster cognitive decline and an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Image: news.ki.se

    People with greater «cognitive reserve» seem to cope better with symptoms of dementia, but >when stress levels are high or constant, this reserve decreases, which means that the likelihood that such people will socialize and maintain a level of physical activity (both of these factors reduce the likelihood of developing dementia) is reduced, explain the authors of the scientific work.

    To get A general idea of ​​cognitive reserve, the researchers created the index by combining various information about the level of education participants had received, the complexity of the job they had worked in the longest, as well as physical activity, leisure time, social interactions and stress levels.

    You may be interested in: Repetitive negative thoughts linked to Alzheimer's disease

    The findings showed that cortisol (a stress hormone) appears todeplete cognitive reserveand is associated with an increase in tau protein, which forms tangles in brain cells, thereby disrupting their function. Recall that tau proteins are directly linked to the development of Alzheimer's disease. Moreover, its accumulation can make a person more susceptible to stress, and stress itself is likely to cause changes in tau protein.

    Gadgets and stress

    Another factor leading to chronic stress and explaining the reason why modern society suffers from negative emotions and experiences is modern technology and, of course, social networks. Yes, yes, if you often look at your news feed, then it's probably time for you to take a break. A new study finds that young people who regularly view other people's content on social media are more likely to experience anxiety, depression and stress than active users who share their own posts.

    For the study, published in the journal Behavior & Information Technology, researchers surveyed 288 participants aged 18 to 34 to understand the relationship between different styles of interaction with social networks, feelings of loneliness and psychological stress.

    Gadgets and stress. Social networks have a negative impact on health. Image: media.wired.com. Photo.

    Social networks have a negative impact on health. Image: media.wired.com

    The work looked at three types of social media use – passive (when users viewed exclusively the content of other users), active (when users posted their own content, but did not directly interact with other users) and active social (where they posted their own content and interacted with other users and their content).

    This is interesting: Why is Instagram the most harmful social network for mental health?

    The results of the study showed that passive use of social networks is associated with increased levels of anxiety, depression and stress. Interestingly, creating and sharing content without directly interacting with others online had a positive effect on stress reduction.

    Passive use of social media does not provide users with opportunities for communication and self-disclosure that can facilitate connections and social support. This can lead to users feeling isolated and excluded. This feeling of loneliness can lead to increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression, explain the authors of the scientific work.

    Gadgets and stress. Watching other users post on social networks increases stress levels. Image: metro.co.uk. Photo.

    Seeing other people's posts on social media increases your stress levels. Image: metro.co.uk

    As you can see, there are a huge number of factors that have a negative impact on stress levels and public health. Fortunately, the more we know about stress, its consequences and methods of dealing with it, the more we can do for our own health and well-being.

    Well, the details of effective stress management can be found here, don’t miss it and be healthy!

  • Date: