Introduction: Stress and Anxiety
Stress arises when we perceive a high level of threat, challenge or risk without sufficient resources or support; this can increase and make it hard to know how to deal with anxiety. Stress a generalized term our body’s threat response, physical effects include activation of the adrenal system, closing of capillaries at our extremities, shutting down of bodily systems for long-term health, and secretion of emotion neurohormones to make us more volatile (prone to fight, flee, freeze) and less calm.
Anxiety is a term used both for a feeling of generalized unease due to unknown or persistent threats (such as climate crisis) and to a clinical mental health disorder tied to overproduction of cortisol and difficulty returning to a calm state.
How Common are Stress & Anxiety?
- 35% of people globally & 55% of Americans are stressed (Gallup 2019) and this has increased 14% during the pandemic (Gallup)
- Stress cases US businesses $300 billion annually (Stress.org)
- 31% of people will experience an anxiety disorder in their lives (Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 2020)
Key Contributors to Stress and Anxiety
- Dysfunctional workplaces
- Uncertain future including climate change
- Lack of sleep & exercise
- Loneliness / social isolation & disconnection from nature
- Lack of meaning & purpose