Family Relationships

Join other women in the sandwich generation - share ideas and solutions as you learn to nourish family relationships without starving yourself.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A New Age of Anxiety and Stress

Young woman biting lip, close-up

The mid- 20th century was known as the age of anxiety - spawning even an epic poem, a symphony and a ballet bearing that name. If you were a Baby Boomer growing up in the '50's, you probably learned to 'drop and cover' or even had a family bomb shelter to help cope with the existential fears of nuclear holocaust.

Now into only the first ten years of the 21st century, anxiety and stress levels have risen again at a monumental rate. A national health survey found that 75% of the general population experiences at least some stress every two weeks, with half of these rated at moderate or high levels. Our fears about terrorism, financial collapse, and global warming are mixed with our reactions to the devastating effects of natural disasters - earthquakes, flooding, hurricanes, and tsunamis.

The result of these real catastrophes is magnified by the 24/7 coverage of them by cable and Internet news services, leaving many of us feeling anxious, stressed and emotionally exhausted. As uncomfortable as you may feel, what you are experiencing is a normal response to an abnormal situation. Stress is a reaction by the body to an enormous demand placed on it. And those in the Sandwich Generation know about the extreme pressures of caring for their growing children and aging parents - all the while trying to stay above water.

There is a wide range of reactions and symptoms of stress and anxiety. Have you noticed any of these yourself?

Physical reactions such as: sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, headaches, body tension - being just plain jittery with a pounding heart and a knot in your stomach;

Emotional responses such as: anxiety, fear, frustration, feelings of vulnerability - the recognition of being unable to control the situation;

Cognitive changes such as: confusion, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, hyper-vigilance - finding you really can't think as clearly as before;

Behavioral reactions such as: isolation, irritability, restlessness, impatience, aggressive behavior - avoiding or pushing away friends and family.

If you are dealing with these kinds of symptoms, join us this week as we share some strategies and techniques for resolving your stress levels and reducing your anxiety. And click on the post title above to take you to our article, How to Turn a Crisis into a Challenge, on our website,

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