Ooo! A friend emailed regarding my Unstressed Ancestors post and brought up the example of baking bread. A weekly task for our utterly at ease ancestors. For those of you who've ever tried baking bread, you know how hard kneading it is. Especially if you're making more than one loaf. And it just goes on and on and finally you just give up because your arms have become limp, shaking, noodles hanging off your shoulders.
Or what about beating rugs? Or doing the laundry by stirring it in a pot over an open fire for days like my stepmother used to do? And these are not even that far back of ancestors. They cooked on wood burning stoves with all that dangerous fire and lit their homes with candles or kerosene/oil lamps.
Ah, but one thing they did not have was a barrage of voices over TV, radio, Internet, email, magazines, newspapers, etc pouring into their lives, warning them about the dangers of candles. No nightly videos of how the Christmas tree went up in a flash flame and took the house and family with it. There were no special safety classes on how to stir the laundry without falling into the fire or scalding yourself on the boiling lye-filled water, nor detailed stories complete with gory video of those poor unfortunates who did fall. Of course today, such activities would probably be banned as far too unsafe. Already in many places it's illegal to have an open fire in your yard.
So maybe we really do have more stress, being inundated with warnings and disaster stories...
...and articles detailing how stressed out we are... :-)