How America Became the World's Most Anxious Country
Anxiety rates have risen in our country for the last four decades. Sociologists blame the increased number of choices we have and the failure of the mythical American meritocracy.
What's the Latest Development?
Sociologists who measure anxiety levels of entire nations have concluded that the US is, by far, the most anxious nation on Earth. About one in three Americans can be expected to suffer anxiety at some point in their lifetime, compared with one in four Colombians, who occupy the second world-anxiety slot. Curiously, nations where people face more basic struggles in life, like securing clean water to drink, are markedly less anxious than Americans. 'According to the 2002 World Mental Health Survey, people in developing-world countries such as Nigeria are up to five times less likely to show clinically significant anxiety levels than Americans.'
What's the Big Idea?
There are two main contributing factors to America's rise in anxiety over the last four decades. One is the increased number of choices we burden ourselves with, both as our identities have become conflated with material goods (so that buying a bad pair of jeans reflects poorly on ourselves) and as we buy new technology that allows us to micromanage our lives. The second contributing factor is the failure of America's mythical meritocracy. Sociological surveys show that despite the ravenous effort we put into climbing the social ladder, and the stress and anxiety that accompany that pursuit, wealth and power tend to remain concentrated in the hands of those born into wealthy and powerful families.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
We know the dangers of too little sleep. Now for the other side of the story.
- Western University researchers found that sleeping over eight hours per night results in cognitive decline.
- Oversleepers suffer similar difficulties on certain cognitive tests as those who sleep under seven hours.
- Not all the news is bad: One night of oversleeping results in a cognitive boost.
The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think
The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.