Everything Is Amazing, So Why Are We Unhappy?
The world today is pretty cool. We are catered to at every turn, from home deliveries of any product you need to instant access to any type of entertainment you crave. We live in a world that literally, whatever you want, there’s an app for that. In addition to the great technological conveniences we enjoy, we also live in a world enriched by diversity. With the ability to connect online and the ease in which we can travel to other parts of the world, our lives are filled with experiences generations before us could only imagine. Yet, a quick online search shows dozens of studies report we are less happy than we were 10, 20, even 30 years ago. Everything is amazing, so why are we unhappy?
The simple answer is that we have more stress in our lives than ever before. I know you’ve heard this before, but it’s worth repeating; for all the benefits social media has brought us in the form of staying connected and informed, social media can increase our anxiety and cause us to feel stressed. In our parents’ and grandparents’ day, there was a notion of “Keeping up with the Joneses”, which meant building an addition on your home if you neighbor did or installing a pool when your neighbor did or hosting as many neighborhood barbeques or holiday parties as your neighbor. Today, the comparisons don’t stop with the next door neighbor. Now we’re trying to “Keep up with the Kardashians” quite literally. We are under enormous pressure to stay informed on current events, pop culture and all the life occurrences of our friends and even our acquaintances.
For many, it’s not enough to check your online news feed just once in a while. The pressure doesn’t stop at just knowing what’s going on in other people’s lives. It’s also about validating one another. “Did you like my daughter’s art project?”, isn’t an inquiry about your opinion, it’s a nudge to make sure gave your endorsement by adding a thumbs up with the LIKE button. The constant pressure to maintain this online world seeps into the real one.
A second big contributor to the stress in our lives is money. Ten years ago we were in the midst of the worst recession America has ever seen which influenced the entire global economy. However, many folks are worse off financially today. Wage increases have not kept up with price increases leaving us paying more for the same lifestyle we had 10 years ago. To compensate, we find ourselves taking on more debt. This creates an unsustainable situation.
Financial wellness may not be something you strive to improve as much as other areas of health, but financial stress IS having a lasting impact on your health and general well-being. Think about it. You’ve taken a few yoga classes or practice meditation, you’re mindful of what you eat and try to consume less alcohol, but you’ve been living for years with mounting debts. You have no money set aside for retirement and every time you think about your finances your blood pressure rises. You’ve been ignoring a looming sense of dread.
Financial wellness is an important, and overlooked, factor in our health; because of this LoveWideOpen.com will post periodic articles to discuss money management and financial topics in general. In case you missed it, we recently posted an article about what it means to “live within your means”.
Other related articles: Financial Wellness and Aging: The Not So Golden Years
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