Anxiety is neither helpful nor hurtful. It is our response to anxiety which has consequences. Unpredictability, uncertainty and uncontrollability all provoke anxiety. Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, panic disorder, social anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These are all mental illnesses which affect 18% or 40 million adult Americans. These clinical conditions can also strike in childhood. Excessive stress hormones wear on the body and the immune system which is the reason they are linked to heart attacks, strokes, immune disorders, obesity and infertility. However, in just the right amounts, the hormones that drive anxiety can be powerful stimulants arousing the senses to function at their sharpest. We don’t necessarily want to get rid of anxiety; we need to learn ways to manage the experience. Professional performers learn how to do this if they want to survive. With what is called a challenge stress, you feel like you can cope with the situation; with a threat stress, you feel less capable of handling the situation which leads to an unhealthy response. Cortisol is a stress hormone found in the blood of very anxious or stressed people. Experience account for some of our anxiety; genetics account for it also. Coping skills can be learned to overcome anxiety or make it work in our favor.
Bits and Pieces of Time – 12/5/11
DNA Familial Searches have enabled forensic experts to track down killers whose DNA is not in their pool but whose family member has been typed. Extensive research is necessary and costly but has brought convictions in 11.9% of the cases. Privacy issues are at stake here and care must be taken to protect the information.
Late-night patrols in South Korea are raiding places known as hagwons where students are stopped from studying after 10 p.m. Top grades have long been prized by Asians as essential for professional success. 74% of all students have private after-school instruction by test-prep tutors. After a year of 14-hour days, 70% of these hagwon students gain entry to one of the nation’s top three universities. Crackdown on the hagwons is now a nightly service by the government.
Rhode Island state treasurer Gina Raimondo has overhauled the state pension system by ending cost-of-living increases for five years, tying future benefits to the overall health of the system, and raising the retirement age. What triggered her involvement were the stories about libraries closing and bus services being cut; this affected Gina whose early education depended on taking the bus and whose grandfather learned English at the local library.
Source: Time Magazine’s Issue of December 5, 2011