Why is anxiety extraordinarily problematic in a society?


You have certainly experienced anxiety many times and perhaps even fear. We all have! To clarify, fear is when you face a real threat and anxiety when your brain is imagining dangers that might happen. There is a difference between occasional and persistent anxiety. The latter permeates society in many ways. I will name some examples

  • most women are scared to be outdoor at night with respect to rape and violence
  • most people do not dare to look into stranger's eyes
  • most people are afraid of being rejected
  • most people are afraid of reprimands
  • most people are afraid of loneliness
  • most people are afraid of sickness and death
  • most people are afraid of wars, climate change and natural disasters
  • most people are afraid of poverty, unemployment and punishment
  • most people are afraid of failing
  • most people are afraid of being robbed
  • most people are afraid of being exposed
  • most people are afraid of people different from themselves

All this anxiety in society has profound negative consequences. Let me list a few

  • people do not dare to say their point of view
  • people do not dare to witness in court
  • people become passive
  • people become less socially capable
  • people isolate themselves and become lonely
  • people stay at boring jobs
  • people carry a lot of secrets
  • people carry a lot of negative thoughts and emotions
  • people become pessimistic
  • people escape to various digital experiences
  • people are ashamed of themselves
  • people do not try novel activities
  • people become less interested in politics
  • people give higher priority to physical things than social interactions
  • people try to be as everyone else
  • people lose social abilities
  • people become polarized
  • people do not trust each other

In turn, these consequences create, among others, bad health, sickness, suicides, self-harming behavior, over-consumption, crimes, violence and widespread mental suffering. Thus, persistent anxiety is very bad for society.

Why have people become this anxious? Historically, humans have always had vivid imaginations that created anxiety, which saved them from predators and dangerous people. Nowadays, media and social apps have huge possibilities to build anxiety through trials by media, gossip, bullying, unattainable models, superhumans, tragedies, pandemics, catastrophes, etcetera. Both media and social apps are thriving on drama and since these tools are used by people several hours a day, there is an almost infinite potential to create anxiety.

What can be done? If media and social apps changed their business model and focused on really important subjects, change would come rather immediately. But, that does not seem probable. I believe that the state should use different tools to incentivize the media to change the agenda setting. Equally important is that wisdom development is initiated among children, youth and adults. Wise citizens are not easy to fool or make anxious.

© 2022 Wisdom4future. All texts can be copied, used and distributed.
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