ANXIETY: Why Are We So Nervous?

by Head of School Muddy Waters

I read an article this weekend that brought me back to a topic that has been on my mind for quite some time. 

This topic has been the subject of countless articles in all forms of media.  The author says, “This is not a nation that has ever been shy about self-diagnosing its jitters.  Much like being a workaholic, it is a problem we eagerly adopt as a badge of honor.”  Do an informal poll of the next ten people you speak with and see how many of them talk about the stress in their life.  

Another point from the article that resonated was, “It [anxiety} is not a coherent fear of a particular thing, and it tends not to focus on the problems you already have…. Anxiety is the ambient apprehension that terrible things might happen…. And since one of the strange things about anxiety is how easily it can be made contagious with one person’s quivering unease shattering the next person’s calm, this year so far has felt like a national exercise in reactive nervousness.”  One could argue that Americans have never lived in a healthier, more prosperous, or safer time, and yet statistics about that condition do not stop any of us from worrying about what might be around the next corner.

What is to be done? I believe The Pike School’s commitment to “positive energy” is part of the solution. I do think that technology and the willingness of adults to share more and more with children at earlier ages might be introducing our children to the idea of anxiety earlier than ever before. While I am not proposing we try to keep our children in a bubble where they never have to face a stressful situation, I would ask us all to consider how we can focus on the positive more often, because there is much for which we have to be grateful.  Not only should we be positive for the sake of our children, we should look for the joy in our own lives, even as we deal with the inevitable challenges we all face.

The Pike School is an independent, coed, day school for Pre-K through ninth grade in Andover, Massachusetts. Visit pikeschool.org to learn more about Pike – and visit our blog for more thought leadership. To learn more about admission to The Pike School, visit our Admission page

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