Stress Management

November 28, 1980

Report Outline
Age of Anxiety and Tensions
Clinical Approaches To Stress
Everyday Coping Techniques
Special Focus

Age of Anxiety and Tensions

Increased Stress During Holiday Period

The images of stress are everywhere: people pushing and shoving to get a seat on the commuter bus; office managers tearing into their work and skipping lunch to make deadlines; couples arguing over money; children feeling neglected by their parents and parents feeling guilty for neglecting their children. Stress, no matter what form it takes, means pressure, uncertainty and loss of a sense of control over events. It affects job performance, social relationships and the personal well-being of millions of Americans. According to the U.S. Clearing-house for Mental Health Information, American businesses lose $17 billion annually because of employees' stress-related disabilities. Health authorities estimate that as many as 60 percent of all doctor visits in this country are prompted by signs of psychological stress rather than a specific illness.

Psychologists have been saying for years that the Christmas season is a period of increased stress and tension. The outward signs of festivity often belie the destructive pressures that many people feel at this time. “Christmas, perhaps more than any other holiday, brings with it a whole series of pre-programmed expectations,” said Dr. Thomas A. Wehr, a Washington psychiatrist. “Christmas tends to make one think about the contentment associated with childhood, about family connections and the fulfillment of hopes. But it also makes people think about loss, and the things missing from their lives. The world looks bright, much brighter, in fact, than a lot of people feel. And it's that contrast that produces stress.”

While there is no objective evidence proving that life in America today is any more stressful than life was in other societies of the past, many clinical researchers seem to think it is. “I doubt if the people of other times had the information overload that we have,” said Dr. Daniel X. Freedman, chairman of the University of Chicago's psychiatry department. Many mental health authorities believe that the demands of modern life are a primary cause of stress. “We are indeed victims of our own technology,” wrote behavioral specialist Jere E. Yates. “None of us wants to give up the most luxurious style of living that man has ever known, nor do we want to turn back the clock and give up modern conveniences such as fast planes and cars that wisk us to our destinations in minutes or hours. Yet the speed of our modern machines has caused our internal systems to speed up, moving at an ever faster pace and creating what some are now calling ‘hurry sickness.’”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Aug. 03, 2018  Loneliness and Social Isolation
Feb. 12, 2010  Sleep Deprivation
Dec. 06, 2002  Homework Debate
Aug. 04, 1995  Job Stress
Jun. 23, 1995  Repetitive Stress Injuries
Aug. 14, 1992  Work, Family and Stress
Aug. 13, 1982  Pressures on Youth
Nov. 28, 1980  Stress Management
Jul. 15, 1970  Stress In Modern Life
Mental Health