Are We a Nation of Nervous Nellies?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

We’re seeing this stuff all over the media nowadays: anxiety, stress, panic attacks, and even trouble sleeping. This MSNBC article makes the case that we are a very nervous nation, with individuals often on the verge of one sort of attack or another. I found these paragraphs from the article to be intriguing:

So we evolved to have a very sensitive fight-or-flight response to get us out of the way when there was even a hint of a threat. Even in today’s world, that fight-or-flight response protects us, telling us to avoid the growling dog or jump out of the way of the car speeding our way.

Now that response can be sparked by stress from work and other problems of daily life. That doesn’t necessarily mean stress is bad.

“Stress is a natural motivator for people in the work force,” Snyderman said. “Stress is what helps us avoid trouble. But anxiety is what happens when it interferes with your normal workday. You’re afraid to leave the house. You have such rampant thoughts that you can’t get a project done. You’re lying in bed and you’re already worried about what’s going to happen the next day.”

In fact, we did not evolve to be in a state of fight-or-flight as much as we tend to be in modern life. Not all stress is bad, indeed, but much of the stress that folks experience in their lives is of the bad sort, and hence the outcome of anxiety and myriad health issues. The workplace, for many, offers up a constant dose of fight-or-flight, perpetually leaving us in an unnatural state of overwhelming stress, and sometimes, even fear.

The modern, white collar sweatshop job is perhaps the best example of a constant, high-stress environment with, quite often, too little pace time and/or reward. Our bodies stress responses are consistently being activated, and this causes the prolonged release of cortisol, which is not beneficial for overall health.

For so many, stress is a killer and/or a destroyer of body and health. Anxiety is one’s “signal” that something is going awry, and too often, we pay too little attention to those kind of signals. Instead, the medical profession has taken to identifying multiple stress “disorders,” and Big Pharma benefits greatly from the “official” recognition of these disorders as “mental illness.”

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One Response to Are We a Nation of Nervous Nellies?

  1. jeannie queenie says:

    August 27th, 2012 at 12:34 am

    “Big Pharma benefits greatly from the “official” recognition of these disorders as “mental illness.”

    The big secret is that often you find yourself having a boss who IS mentally ill…maybe even a sociopath. It is no secret that middle management often hasn’t a clue tween their ass and a hole in the ground. I am seeing that yet again, at an independent living place where a friend is living…the middle mgmt in every area of that place sucks at their job..the upshot is hugh overturn of low end employees who get no real management. And worse, since hours and pay are cut, some of those workers have no compunction about stealing from those in assisted living…could write a book about all the stories I’ve heard from older gals being ripped off.

    Seems they can no longer find any hiding areas in their rooms to keep money or jewelry hidden.Invariably if they go down to lunch or outside, someone gets in their room and finds the booty…it is so sickening…and the man in charge over middle mgmt just raises his shoulders and says, ‘nothing I can do about it”…
    making one wonder if he is the one doing the theft..at any rate, in that kind of environment, one can’t help but be a nervous nellie. You never know if every last vestige of one’s personal property is there tomorrow

    ..Then that story a couple weeks ago about the male nurse passing his hepatitis around via needles, you would get pretty nervous around any nurse with a needle. Fact is, no where can one go anymore without wondering what nut will come out of the woodwork and wipe you out. Desperate times brings out desperate people who do desperate things..hence, nervous nellies.

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