According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anxiety disorders now take the top spot, with 18 percent of Americans suffering from one. In his new book Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool, journalist Taylor Clark begins by highlighting our extreme levels of anxiety, writing that the average high school student today has the same anxiety level as a psychiatric patient did in the 1950s and that Americans are five times as likely to suffer from anxiety as Nigerians, who arguably have more to fear.
Clark does not spend much time speculating on how we became a society awash in worry. He does something perhaps more significant—he clarifies what anxiety is and how we can treat it. There is, Clark says, a “nervous trinity” that can wreak havoc on our minds: anxiety, fear and stress.”