I sometimes sense the world is changing almost too fast for its inhabitants – at least for us older ones.
Elizabeth 2nd (b.1926), Queen of England, on a tour of Pakistan, 1997.
I agree with Her Majesty. For some time now I’ve been convinced that people born around the middle of last century have been exposed to degrees of change in quality and quantity at a rate unprecedented in human history. I was born in 1943 and my early childhood was without supermarkets, motorways, cars, washing machines, gas and electric heating, television, plastic bags, bananas, fridges, electric kettles, foreign footballers, automation, ball-point pens, computers, anaesthetic for fillings, holidays abroad …
And the next few years were to witness stressing new developments: widespread crimes of violence, ecology issues, the possibility of new forms of warfare – nuclear, chemical, and biological, 571 homicides in England and Wales 2015-16, AIDS, Margaret Thatcher, constant wars somewhere or other, drugs and related crime, widespread and repeated flooding, an epidemic of diabetes, terrorism, starvation, workplace stress, global warming, the gig economy, muggings, 5,965 UK suicides in 2016 – three-quarters men, an epidemic of obesity, sex crimes, ethnic cleansing, thalidomide, widespread mental illness, the depletion of the ozone layer, ufo’s …
The speed of change today is faster than the human psyche seems able to handle. Marianne Williamson – US spiritual teacher b 1962
… the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time …’ ‘Futureshock’ – Alvin Toffler
43% of all working days lost to illness in 2014-15 was attributed to stress. Today 10 million working days are lost here per annum because of stress.
Industries with higher than average rates of stress, depression, or anxiety 2014-17:
1 human health and social work
2 public admin and defence
2016-17: 12.5 million working days lost due to work-related stress or depression mainly because of workload
Since 2015 absenteeism has increased by 25%
3.9 million more antidepressants were prescribed in 2015 than in 2014.
* * *
On a piece of paper write down everything that
stresses you out.
List everything you ought to do, including minor
watering plants, replying to emails.
The stresses are now contained on a piece of paper,
away from your mind.
So, relax tonight.
Tell yourself you will go through the list tomorrow,
item by item, starting with the easiest.
When you open your eyes the next morning,
your mind and body will be ready.
I can guarantee that.
‘The Things You Can See When You Slow Down’
Haemin Sunim – Zen Buddhist teacher
(b. South Korea 1973)