Stress levels in 2011 are set to soar, and everyone's at risk, according to the UK's leading authority on stress at work - The Stress Management Society (SMS) .
The Society claims that 21st century stress, caused by living in an always-on 24/7 style culture, is having a significant effect on people's health and wellbeing. And that's a trend that is unlikely to go away.
The Society says stress levels are at an all time high - the highest since the group was launched in 2003. SMS is warning people to look out for stress symptoms and have a plan to combat stress if it arrives.
The Society has seen demand for its services soar in recent months.
- There has been a 34 percent increase in demand for SMS's free downloadable guide to stress management
- More copies are currently being requested each week than at any time since the Society launched in 2003
Neil Shah, Director of The Stress Management Society, says there are specific things ratcheting up stress levels in 2011.
"People are feeling the strain of 21st century life. Take the continual distractions we get from technology, e.g. e-mails, texts, instant messaging, or notification of breaking news or that someone's updated their Facebook, Twitter, or blog.
"We allow these interruptions because we don't want to miss out on news, opportunities, or messages. But it's counterproductive. When you get interrupted, it can take up to 15 minutes to get back to what you were doing. In fact you are 500 percent more efficient when you concentrate on one thing at a time, rather than jump from project to project. So allowing interruptions to govern your day is inefficient, will keep you longer at the office and destroy your focus - all very stressful."
"We're losing the right to anonymity," Shah continued. "Go for a job interview and your interviewer might already have Googled your name to uncover any black marks in your online history or social networks. Also in the last year we've seen the launch of geographical tracking through Facebook Places and FourSquare allowing people to trace your location all day long through your phone. All of this adds to a sense of pressure.
"Then as life gets faster, we're losing the space to relax, sit back and regroup. And what's worse is that we've even using our precious down time to indulge in even more digital activity such as checking Facebook, where the average active user spends 56 minutes a visit.
"As technology constantly evolves at an ever-increasing speed, this pressure is not going away. It's just going to build and build. That means we need to learn some new tricks on managing it, for example with tips on how to spot if you are a digital addict, an assessment of how available you need to be, ground rules on how you harness technology for your benefit, and knowledge of how to reduce stress and achieve success in the 21st century."
You can request the free guide to stress from The Stress Management Society (click Free Stress Guide in the left column)..