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It seems like everyone I know carries some kind of anti-anxiety drug, just in case.  Drugs like Ativan, Xanax and Klonopin are houshold names.

What is anxiety anyway? PsychotherapistLynn Lyons explains in the NYT’s number one most-emailed article last week, “anxiety is all about the avoidance of uncertainty and discomfort.”

It’s no wonder anxiety has reached epidemic proportions. The reality is we all know we can’t control the world around us and the world we live in — today’s politics, nuclear threats, and natural disasters to name a few stressors.

It’s not just the obvious stuff that ignites our anxiety, like devastating hurricanes, floods and fires. It’s not only the terrorism and mass killings which are making us take in our surroundings with increased anxiety when we attend sporting events, go to the mall or travel through airports and train stations. It’s every bit of news that we absorb daily from our media sources. We  feel unsettled and vulnerable and it appears to be escalating.

The conversations inside our families have changed.

We are in search of tools to manage our anxiety, to calm our thoughts, to think rationally and not catastrophically. But it’s not easy.

Both my kids live on the West Coast. Having them live so far away is hard, but add to that the fires in California, the threat of nuclear war from North Korea and the talk of an earthquake that is way overdue. How are we supposed to manage the worries?

I am a Headspace junkie and listen to my three-minute meditations regularly. I practice yoga three times a week and head for the Chardonnay when the clock strikes 5 pm. I’ve got my strategies like many others I know.

Visit any health food store and there’s a shelf of natural remedies for anxiety from Chamomile Tea to Lemon Balm and Valerian Root. Read more about these options.

A little cup of comfort. It’s no surprise, that the #1 most shared article this past week in the New York Times was about anxiety and teenagers; adults were included as well.

A little cup of comfort.

I urge all  BA50s to read this New York Times piece to understand what is happening societally to accelerate our anxiety…Why More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffer From Anxiety.

One of the biggest takeaways is the impact of social media on anxiety levels on teens. Grownups are not immune from this addiction.

The article delves into the personal lives of a few teenagers and discusses the impact of this epidemic.

“Anxious teenagers from all backgrounds are relentlessly comparing themselves with their peers,” Lyons explains. “And the results are almost uniformly distressing.”

One kid confesses this: “Social media is a tool, but it’s become this thing that we can’t live without but that’s making us crazy.”

I know that all my fellow BA50s are on social media. How many of us suffer from anxiety? Daily? Weekly? Every-so-Often?

This group of teenagers is called the iGen. They spend endless hours on their iPhones and it has become a source of isolation and anxiety. (See Jean Twenge’s article in The Atlantic about Have Smart Phones Destroyed a Generation).This author says: “the use of social media and smartphones look culpable for the increase in teen mental-health issues.”

Like it or not, we live in a world of stressful and distressing times. Good and bad, technology is here to stay. The question remains, how will we and our children and grandchildren find ways to cope in the next ten years. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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