America — land of the stressed, overworked and depressed.
Many reports throughout the last few weeks have highlighted a growing trend with Americans. People are stressed, gaining weight and continually being overworked in their jobs.
Despite these issues of obesity and stress, Americans are still hungry for more tasks to fill their plates. The Atlantic recently interviewed Brigid Schulte, author of “Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time,” about why people are so overworked and what it means for people’s futures.
“We’re working more hours — more extreme hours at one job at the upper end of the socio-economic spectrum and cobbling together several jobs to try to make ends meet at the lower end,” Schulte told The Atlantic. “Our standards for what it takes to be a good parent, particularly a good mother, are insanely high and out of proportion to all reality.”
And this causes parents to overwork as a way to try and meet the standards that society apparently creates, Schulte told The Atlantic.
“We all feel like we’re not doing enough for our children, so in our guilt, we do, do, do, and overdo: more lessons, more teams, more sports, bigger birthday parties, more educational outings,” she said in the Atlantic interview. “And we all feed off each other — particularly as we look to the future, see a changing global economy and so much uncertainty about what ‘success’ will look like.”
One of the reasons Americans may feel this way may actually have a scientific connection, Salon recently reported, citing multiple studies, including one by the Frontiers of Public Health. Bacteria, when it penetrates our gut and finds a home, can actually affect the way we live. Issues like asthma, obesity and mood disorders can all be created — or enabled — by bacteria in the gut.
“The bacteria in our gut, collectively called our microbiome, is a huge, ever-changing universe of billions of microbes,” Salon reported. “The microbiome has also been called a second genome and even a second brain.”
People can become stressed, anxious, depressed and moody from having or lacking microbes in their gut, Salon said. And it can impact the way food is processed through our bodies, causing Americans to become obese, Salon said.
The Atlantic released charts that showed which jobs have the highest obesity rates, with public administration jobs reaching the top of the charts. Utilities and information jobs were second and third on the list, respectively, with transportation and social assistance jobs rounding out the top five, according to The Atlantic. Real estate jobs and arts and entertainment professions were at the bottom of the charts.
“Employers want their workers to be healthy — both for insurance-cost and humane reasons — but aspects of those very jobs can make workers sick,” The Atlantic said.