friends (18%), and take a vacation (13%). The more of these major
life changes--good and bad--that have occurred in your life during the
last year or two, the greater the chances of your becoming physically
or emotionally ill (Holmes & Rahe, 1967). Other researchers have
found that having just one close, confiding relationship protects
us from many of these stresses.
Alvin Toffler (1970) wrote a best seller, Future Shock, putting forth
the idea that technology was producing such rapid change that people
felt unable to keep up with and handle the accelerating flow of
information and choices. We are in a mobile society with few
permanent relationships. Today almost everything is disposable, even
our jobs and friends. We give them up and move on. Certainly,
computers, robots, and cheap foreign labor may threaten our jobs. On
the other hand, I would suggest that an equal amount of stress or
frustration is caused by changes being made too slowly rather than too
fast, i.e. racial prejudice and greed don't go away fast enough, we'd
like to make some changes at work but can't, or the slow driver in
front of us drives us crazy--see frustration and conflict below.
Siegelman (1983) and others speculate that change is upsetting
because we are leaving a part of our selves behind. Any change
involves a loss of the known--a giving up of a reality that has given
meaning to our lives. We are also afraid we won't get the things we
want after the change is made. No wonder changes are resisted.
Siegelman and others also believe that there is an opposite force to
the resistance to change. Of course, many of us seek change; there is
an urge to master new challenges, to explore the unknown, to test
ourselves. And she says, "Mastering the anxiety of venturing promotes
new levels of growth." How do you see yourself? As wanting things to
stay comfortable and the same or more as wanting things to change?
This is probably an important personal characteristic to be aware of
and to consider if you need to change this attitude.
Daily hassles cause stress
Lazarus and Folkman (1984) believe the little daily hassles rather
than the major life events bother us the most, causing mental and
physical problems. The research at the University of California at
Berkeley investigated the hassles of college students, middle-aged
whites, and health professionals. Each group had some similar hassles:
losing things, concern about physical appearance, and too many things
to do. But each group had different concerns too: middle-aged persons
worried about chronic money matters, professionals fretted about
continuing pressures at work, and students were stressed by wasting
time, not doing as well as they would like, and loneliness. Note, these
are not major life changes, but chronic conditions.
Stress may come from constant, steady tension in a relationship,
continuing lack of friends, no interest or excitement day after day, or
inability to find meaning in life, as well as from the big, awful eruptions
in life discussed above. Also, the little unexpected occurrences and