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Old 03-30-2014
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Just want to know people's opinion.

If you are an American citizen, do you think the "average" American lifestyle (I'm aware lifestyles vary, but on the whole) is conducive to very high levels of stress? I know some may say, Well, duh. But maybe not everyone agrees with this. I'm just wondering if other people think that Americans really do seem to be getting more and more anxious and depressed, or if there are just more people being diagnosed with anxiety and depression but the actual amount of it hasn't changed much.
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Old 03-31-2014
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I think that my life (in America) is stressful, but I have never lived anywhere else, so I can't speak for other places. We seem much less happy than a lot of people who live in Europe, don't we?
I think it is stressful for me to have so much stimulation from the modern world in general, like phones, computers, TV, so much expected in such a short time. I have often thought of dropping out of society and homesteading somewhere in the woods. I am sure that would be a much happier existence for me!
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Old 03-31-2014
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Yes, it is very high stress.
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Old 03-31-2014
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Wow Opaline, you're interested in things that I'm also pretty big on!

I would say that yes, it is high stress. It's bad for our nerves because of all the information and light we're being bombarded with, but then we're also sitting down a lot to drive or work or whatever, so we're not getting the physical activity we need either, which is too bad because it could cancel a lot of the other stresses out if we were.

Fake food with zero nutritional value, endless streams of commercials trying to undermine your self-esteem or build up your ego and tell you that you deserve a bunch of shit you don't even want, throwing sex in your face all the time, etc. You don't need to work out to feel good, you need to work out because if you don't, other people won't like you, or you don't deserve respect. The message doesn't affect you at first but after it's mindlessly repeated over and over, it begins to.

I honestly think that the stress of fearing for your life in the jungles is probably healthier than the stress of participating in the bullshit of modern life. It's not just the American way... but I do think it's probably worse than in Canada because of your health care situation and the guns and violence and bravado and such.

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Old 03-31-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Odo View Post
Wow Opaline, you're interested in things that I'm also pretty big on!

I would say that yes, it is high stress. It's bad for our nerves because of all the information and light we're being bombarded with, but then we're also sitting down a lot to drive or work or whatever, so we're not getting the physical activity we need either, which is too bad because it could cancel a lot of the other stresses out if we were.

Fake food with zero nutritional value, endless streams of commercials trying to undermine your self-esteem or build up your ego and tell you that you deserve a bunch of shit you don't even want, throwing sex in your face all the time, etc. You don't need to work out to feel good, you need to work out because if you don't, other people won't like you, or you don't deserve respect. The message doesn't affect you at first but after it's mindlessly repeated over and over, it begins to.

I honestly think that the stress of fearing for your life is probably healthier than the stress of participating in the bullshit of modern life. It's not just the American way... but I do think it's probably worse than in Canada because of your health care situation and the guns and violence and bravado and such.
+1 I agree
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Old 03-31-2014
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Yes. I think a lot of it has to do with status and all of what that entails. Truth is, in the end it really doesn't matter. Instead of focusing on people who accept us for who we are, we yearn for the approval of people who don't matter.
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Old 03-31-2014
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I'm aware that you addressed varying lifestyles, but I think 'average American lifestyle' isn't something you can arrive at. People are just gonna fill in the blanks with what comes to mind (like Odo's 'guns and bravado'). I've lived in very rural Texas and very urban Texas and I'm reasonably certain that you can't average the two experiences together into suburban Texas. And America is a large landmass with a significant population spread out across it (even if the coasts are more populous). There are too many variables just running amok for me to definitively make a broad generalization about Americans. A lot of a person's day-to-day existence (and thus stress levels) is just geographically and local-culture based.

Speaking of that word, if we're talking about what we'd refer to as an American culture - what we all have that's pretty much the same wherever you are - like what Odo mentioned - the Information Age has aided and abetted that. It's a lot easier to focus on keeping up with the Joneses when they're tweeting pictures of their lunch. Of course that phrase was, at least according to Wikipedia, in the vernacular at the start of the century (err, the one before this one - I'm saying it was in 1913). So this was no doubt a source of stress and anxiety to at least our great grandparents as well.

This is all a long-winded way of saying that we like to assume our time and our culture is some kind of key turning point in history (which is definitively impossible for us to actually know). To answer the original question at the end of your post, we've been dealing with a recession, the nearly ubiquitous rise of the Internet, and a nation obsessed with security, and that's just been this past decade. That seems like a good reason for anxiety and depression rates to rise, and prior to that we've had a steadily improving awareness of mental health (and even further back an increasing basic understanding thereof).

The TL;DR of my opinion is that the rates of extant cases of depression and anxiety fluctuate around a sort of baseline, and if 'American lifestyle' means 'modern American culture', it's probably caused a significant spike in that. But I think the majority of diagnoses are because people are more willing to admit they have a problem and there are more ways for them to deal with that problem than in the past.
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Old 04-02-2014
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In reply to O'Killian... Okay, there are too many variables involved to make a broad generalization. But what about, on the whole, how everything seems to be more fast-paced? On one hand, many tasks have been made easier by advances in technology, and that saves us a ton of time. But then because those things are faster it seems like we're expected to cram more into our day. Maybe I'm wrong. I didn't live in 1800's America and I've never lived anywhere else.

There has always been stress, and it's not necessarily always bad. But it seems like now we have so many things to do in a day that there's never enough time to really relax or spend quality time with loved ones. Sure, you can make time for that, but often at the expense of something important. Or you can choose not to have X number of children or not have a family at all, but many people do want those things, so then what - bills house car kids work play money cook laundry that needs to be fixed and your friend wants to get coffee on Monday and that parent teacher meeting on Tuesday and the brakes need to be checked on Wednesday and grocery shopping and your son needs help with his homework and blah blah blah.

Who the hell has time or energy or the mental capacity for all of this? I mean, I wouldn't want to have NOTHING to do every day, but personally it seems like I and everyone I know runs around just trying to get everything done to barely stay on top of things and then complains about how tired and stressed they are, and then get up and do it all again. I don't even have a boyfriend or spouse or children or my own house or even car yet, and I already feel I never have enough time and I feel frantic a lot. In fact right now I need to do homework and make dinner and I was doing laundry earlier and I took the recycling out and I still have to make sure my siblings do their homework and get to bed on time and make sure the kitchen's clean and people are texting me (first world problems?) and more... :/

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Old 04-03-2014
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The American lifestyle sucks but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Do this, do that, not enough time, bla bla bla. The more fast paced it gets, the less time we have to slow down, relax, interact with each other. I for one can't wait until human interaction won't be a thing anymore. That sounds like paradise!

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Old 04-03-2014
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Still waiting for your reply to my text. I basically said that your social circle and mine should integrate, we should all become friends with each other. I thought that kind of thing was your bag.
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Old 04-03-2014
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Yes people in a certain parts of Italy and Japan live much longer than Americans. The diet here is terrible and somehow there's a bunch of fast crappy food is everywhere.
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Old 04-03-2014
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Yes, I think American life is very stressful the super fast pace, the media, social expectations, people who feel the need to always compete to prove that they're better than you. those are some of the things that cause me stress.

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Old 04-03-2014
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On American commercials:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychology Today
Today, American viewers will endure approximately three hours of advertisements in a 10 hour viewing period, twice what they would have seen in the 1960s. The commercial metastasis wasn’t always this aggressive, what happened?

According to journalist Rick Heldenfels, during the deregulation frenzy of the business-biased Reagan era, the FCC abandoned all commercial limits in prime time. Except for children’s television, this left the amount of commercial time per hour up to the discretion of the networks.
"Commercial Creep"

On American vacation time versus other countries:



America is the only rich country that doesn’t guarantee paid vacation or holidays
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Old 04-03-2014
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Damn...Portugal, here I come!!
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Old 04-03-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanielWingatePeaslee View Post
On American commercials:



"Commercial Creep"

On American vacation time versus other countries:



America is the only rich country that doesn’t guarantee paid vacation or holidays
I saw a quote that said something like, America is good for doing business but terrible for having a life. It was off some nutjob's website, unfortunately, but that one quote stood out to me as true in a sense.
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Old 04-03-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gieky View Post
The American lifestyle sucks but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Do this, do that, not enough time, bla bla bla. The more fast paced it gets, the less time we have to slow down, relax, interact with each other. I for one can't wait until human interaction won't be a thing anymore. That sounds like paradise!
So you don't mind that it's fast-paced, hectic, and stressful, if it means people are interacting less? Hrm.
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Old 04-03-2014
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I remember seeing this, too. USA granting no vacation days at all is quite crazy. I hope that changes.
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Old 04-03-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanielWingatePeaslee View Post
On American commercials:



"Commercial Creep"

On American vacation time versus other countries:



America is the only rich country that doesn’t guarantee paid vacation or holidays
^Interesting graph.
I don't know about the situation in other countries, but over here, full-time jobs are becoming rarer and rarer. You only get paid vacation if your job is full-time here.

So over the past 10 years full-time jobs have been steadily decreasing and companies will now employ several part-time employees, to replace a former full-time one. Then they avoid having to pay their employees any vacation or sick days.

And that also does not show up in the unemployment figure, because as long as someone works 1 hour a week, they are classed as being employed.

Without adding the underemployed, (all the millions of people with only part-time employment wishing they could get a full-time one instead), the true unemployment figures would jump immensely.
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Old 04-08-2014
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Just watched this TED Talk that basically says stress is good for you.
Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend | Talk Video | TED

I'd watch until the end, she answers an extra question at the end that about doing something stressful versus avoiding discomfort.


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Damn...Portugal, here I come!!
It's not that good. I don't know what year that graph refers to, but the holidays were reduced by 4 a year or two ago.
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