The concept of stress as an illness rather than an inevitable consequence of a busy lifestyle is a fairly modern consideration, and has no doubt evolved out of the increased knowledge and published findings that exist amongst the archives of the World Wide Web. However, this creates an interesting anomaly, as though portions of society are afforded more luxury, liberty and leisure time than ever before, the instances where stress is cited as a contributor to depression and illness continue to soar. This raises an interesting question about contemporary society, and whether the surfeits of information and leisure may eventually prove debilitating for individuals.
How Increasing Liberty may be Detrimental
Many historians have suggested the leisure and increased liberty have played a significant factor in rising crime rates throughout the centuries, where individuals have been forced to seek a diversity of ways to spend their free time. The insistence is that in more simple times of living, people would work up to 16 hours a day and beyond, leaving little or no time to devote to their own pursuits. Even the act of sex was considered as a purely functional entity rather than one to derive pleasure, and existed to procreate life and breed only.
So, as time and the standard of living has improved, so too leisure and liberty has been handed to individuals, with the result that some have been left feeling adrift, isolated and without purpose. This can be the trigger for various guises of anti social or violent behavior, either as a way to evoke comradeship amongst others or merely to assuage periods of boredom. With this in mind, it is easy to see how the gift of time and leisure can be potentially divisive, especially amongst young or unmotivated individuals.
Though these are the most discussed consequences of apathy and boredom, a more active imagination and distorted perception can also emerge during periods without physical or mental stimulation. This is where stress and an inability to function can become so pertinent, as people lose perspective of time and the events which contribute towards their day. Subsequently, they can find it difficult to cope with even the slightest change to their routine or most simple of challenges, simply because they have been rendered less effective by a surfeit of personal freedom.
An Issue for the Individual
Of course, it should be ignored that the course of technological and medical progression has been largely beneficial to society, but the fact remains that it continues to make everyday processes quicker and easier to perform. Not only this, but advances in computer technology are gradually reducing that the contribution that a human makes within a home or workplace environment, meaning that individuals are being afforded more and more of an average day to themselves. This may seem great on the surface, but this may not be the case if alternative outlets for a person’s time and energy do not exist.
So the dangers of excess leisure time and personal liberty remain increasingly significant, and certainly go along way to explaining why stress and other social issues are so prominent in contemporary culture. With the situation likely to intensify as technology plays an ever more important role in day to day existence, it is crucial that individuals take responsibility for their welfare and the way that they spend their time, so that they can cultivate a lifestyle that is balanced, active and stimulates their body and mind.
This may be especially true for youngsters, who are known to have reduced capacities of concentration and focus, and are therefore more vulnerable to distraction and the perils of idle time. The truth remains that many youngsters do not have a suitable outlet for their energies, and subsequently spend any spare time playing computer games or watching an unhealthy amount of television. This forms a particularly unhealthy cycle of behavior, and one which will continue into later life if not challenged by parents or suitable elders.
How Freedom Equals Responsibility
It is widely accepted that accountability is a consequence of freedom, and every small liberty that we are afforded comes with certain moral conditions. So, while we are allowed more time to spend as we wish, this brings the need for responsible time management and a discipline to refrain from immoral or ill considered activities. Without this, it is all too easy for an individual to drift into bad company or behavioral patterns, and cultivate a standard of living that may eventually lead to violent or criminal conduct.