Stress and Anxiety

stress and anxiety
image courtesy of londoncounsellingdirectory.com

A culture motivated by speed and greed has brought more stress and anxiety to life. A dictionary definition of stress is:

A constraining or impelling force, effort or demand upon physical or mental energy”.

According to the Confederation of British Industries (C.B.I.) illness caused by stress has increased by 500% since the mid 1950’s. Current cultural conditions increase our stress, resulting in effects such as:

·    lack of predictability in life
·    lack of control over external events
·    lack of outlets for frustration

But stress is also an essential part of life. If there were no stress there would be no reaching for growth. There is a functional element to stress that helps us to grow and develop as individuals and a society. If we become overwhelmed by stress, without any outlet for the negative energy it can produce, for prolonged periods of time, then illness and disease will result.

Much of our stress in the modern world comes from ‘cognitive dissonance’ – a feeling that something is wrong but we can’t quite put a finger on what it is. It is defined in psychological terms as: the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioural decisions and attitude change. We know something has to change, that our culture has taken a turn that will result in its own demise, but are in denial or seem unable to do anything about it. This state of being creates a basis of anxiety.

It is how we cope with stressors such as this that determine how much they affect us physically. There is no doubt that for many of us the world is becoming a more complex place and this produces stress and its associated toxins which are part of eventual cell insult and disease if we cannot deal with them.

Our daily diet consists of more than what we eat, drink and breathe. We consume many thousands of messages every day from our culture. Images, conversation, music, TV, radio, newspapers, books and so on. Just once in a while it is a good idea to stand back and consider just what messages we are getting. Certainly mainstream media seems to provide a diet of violence and sensationalism and Western ‘news values’ prefer negative stories of drama, crisis and criminality to more positive or healthy views. Just what impact does the media you consume have on your own perception of the world?

For any consumers of ‘fed culture’ – TV, radio, news, magazines etc. the diet is mostly one of negativity, violence, fear, greed, speed and ‘celebrity’ – the state of personal fulfillment to which we are all supposed to aspire. The media exist for only one reason, to deliver us into the hands of advertisers who seek to manipulate our needs.

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