STRESS MANAGEMENT AN INTRODUCTION
Human beings have always had to deal with stress in their lives however it is only in the last 50 years that we have given it so much attention. Prior to that time we might have talked about being worried or tense but our understanding of stress was not well developed. Mostly it was external conditions that were seen as the problem. Once these were removed it was presumed our lives would be worry free.
In modern society many of the stressors of the past no longer exist. Medical advances have alleviated much of the human suffering that would have been a major source of stress in prior times. The inhumane working and living conditions that the vast majority of the population had to endure in the past would be intolerable today. In so many ways the world is a better and more hospitable place to live in, at least for a majority of people in the western world and yet we have created our own modern nightmares to replace the old ones.
Although we still continue to work towards creating a better world we have become more aware of our inner world and how that impacts on our quality of life. We have begun to appreciate that it is not always as simple as satisfying our wants and needs. Our lives have been enhanced by the technological advances of the last few years. Our culture has evolved in so many positive ways. However the personal price we pay for this progress and the opportunities it affords us may be reaching a tipping point where the costs outweigh the benefits. In many respects we still live in a troubled world where the growth of personal suffering seems to be outpacing our ability to deal with it.
To the extent that we do not get what we want or seem unable to achieve our goals we become dissatisfied, discouraged and despondent. Stress reduction acknowledges the need to address these negative experiences but it should not anesthetize us against the deeper sources of our discontent. Alleviating stress should not just be about how to do things more efficiently or how to get what we want more effectively. The search for more efficiency and effectiveness has actually been a prime cause of modern stress. We need to find a different way of being that helps us to be more in tune with ourselves, others and the environment. It is about our outlook on life and discovering what is meaningful to us.