Feeling stressed out? Well, you are not alone! In Europe stress is the second most frequently reported work-related health problem and in the UK the total number of work related stress, depression and anxiety cases is 440,000.
Particularly bad is it in Denmark though. In this happy country of only 6 million inhabitants between 250,000 and 300,000 people suffered last year from severe stress. Ten times more than the UK compared to size. Something is wrong…
I don’t think these high stress numbers are only caused at the work place. I believe that many also experience life stress as a result of living in a highly competitive society. The constant need to prove and flaunt ourselves with the right education, money, successful careers, the perfect family and the right postcode must be bound to take its toll.
Of course the causes of stress and mental strains in general are many and complex. However, I can’t help but think what this constant exposure to the success of others might do to us in the long term?
The effects of higher, better, faster, stronger?
In the past week I made a quick, completely non-scientific content poll on the first 30 posts I daily encountered on LinkedIn shared by my connections.
I was not surprised when it turned out that around a quarter of these posts shared by my network fell into a ‘How to become more successful’-category. I was exposed to headlines like ‘Think like a winner”, “How to get the life of your dreams”, “Robust is the new buzzword for employers” and “7 skills highly effective people have”.
Perhaps it is just my feed that has been on steroids for the past years, but I doubt it. I observe myself thinking “Oh, maybe I should learn to be more effective? Or “Can I really keep up with all these new trends?” I wonder if our brains can handle continuously having to process these messages? We are constantly being bombarded with higher, better, faster, stronger. No matter what kind of social media we use… What do you think the long term effects of this will be? Less stress?
Who we are – is not just what we do
Please don’t misunderstand my wish for more authenticity and less pacing. I would not in any way call for people to go online and ‘pour their misery down on me’ as Garbage sang in the mid 1990s. On the contrary, I am all about improving. I love my line of work, love making a difference and create results with my skills and personality, but I am not and never will be a slave of what I happen to make a living from. Our inner values and strengths, our curiosity and enthusiasm are what defines us – not if we can name the 15 new Social Media Trends in 2016.
And yes, I am also talking to myself here, because I don’t have all the answers – not even close. When I decided to leave Copenhagen last summer to be with my boyfriend in London it was one of my biggest comfort zone challenges to date. I left behind a good career, wonderful colleagues, my friends, horse and my home country, without knowing what the future would bring.
It has been a challenge, but a great one. Moving to a new country forced me to look at myself in a new perspective, because who are we really when stripped of almost all the external content in our lives?
One of the things I have learned so far is that we are SO much more than what we do for a living.
My call-to-action: A little more authenticity, please
My wish for 2016 is therefore that we think more about what content we share. Do we share something because we believe it will truly inspire and generate value – or do we share because we want to look good, smart or trendsetting in the eyes of others?
If it is the latter then please stop yourself. Don’t pollute my feed. The world doesn’t need it…