Think you’re stressed out enough already? Think again, for the era of “super stress” is just beginning with the coming of 2013.
The emergence of “mounting and multiplying” stressors is considered one of the top 10 trends for 2013 by JWT, one of the world’s largest marketing and advertising companies.
“While life has always been filled with stressors big and small, these are mounting and multiplying: We’re entering the era of super stress,” the JWT said in its eighth annual forecast of trends for the near future.
“The threat of terrorism has increased around the world; the weather is getting more extreme, bringing superstorms, droughts and record heat waves; and today’s complex, globalized financial systems have wrought havoc with economies. At the same time, factors like high-speed technology and high-stakes competitiveness are making daily life more challenging,” says the JWT report on the “10 Trends for 2013”.
Blessing and curse
“Constant connectivity can be both blessing and curse. Today’s always-on world feels more fast-paced and pressured than ever. Our work demands constant attention—late night pings on smartphones, early-morning Skyping with global partners, reading reports on mobile screens while on the go. And there are fewer places beyond the reach of Wi-Fi or mobile reception,” said the report from the New York-based multinational advertising agency.
Social media are also increasing stress levels as people are bombarded with “exponentially more video to watch, posts to read and goods to sift through.”
“Digital media’s immediacy is giving our social and recreational lives a ‘get things done’ quality once reserved for work. Increasingly, it feels like there’s no time in the day to simply relax and reset,” said the report, which was based on quantitative, qualitative and desk research conducted by JWTIntelligence.
The report, which also drew insights from the response of over 1,000 adult survey respondents from the United States and the United Kingdom, also noted that the “high stress” lifestyle of the West is rapidly moving East.
“Emerging markets are seeing more of the pressures to achieve and perform that cause stress in the West, along with a rise in behaviors that only exacerbate stress: poor sleeping habits due to longer and more erratic work hours, poor eating habits as convenience and fast foods become more accepted, and more sedentary lifestyles,” the report said.
“And while development has improved the lives of many, keeping up with the rapid pace of change that emerging regions are experiencing can be highly stressful,” it added.
According to JWT, as stress becomes recognized as both a medical concern and cost issue, “governments, employers and brands alike will need to ramp up efforts to help prevent and reduce it.”
“Since most of the factors making life more stressful will endure for the long term, and some will become more widely felt, today’s high stress levels are likely to keep rising. The ramifications for the physical and mental health of populations will be numerous,” it said.
Increasingly, stress will be seen as a global epidemic, much like obesity, it said.