In a recent article for The New York Times, the acclaimed anthropologist T. M. Luhrmann cited some interesting statistics about the prevalence of anxiety in the United States.
“Americans are a pretty anxious people. Nearly one in five of us – 18 percent – has an anxiety disorder. We spend over $2 billion a year on anti-anxiety medications…In 2002 the World Mental Health Survey found that Americans were the most anxious people in the 14 countries studied, with more clinically significant levels of anxiety than people in Nigeria, Lebanon and Ukraine.”
What can we make of this?
The potential for anxiety can run in families, much like the potential for depression. However, that alone does not explain the prevalence of the impairment. Life occurrences such as accidents, illnesses or traumatic events can trigger recurrent anxiety.
My experiences with clients over the 15 years I’ve been in practice suggests that our minds play a key role in generating anxiety. A synonym for anxiety is worry. We worry about getting into the right school, the right job, the state of our health, the state of our relationships and on and on. We seek to control our lives and when we discover how little we actually can control, our anxiety runs rampant.
The learning and practice of mindfulness can decrease our anxiety and our worry. If you feel anxiety is running your life, give me a call. Let’s get together for a complimentary session. I’d like to show you how the power of mindfulness can change the quality of your life.