Jacob Sugarman interviews Taylor Clark, author of Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool:
Perhaps the most puzzling statistics are the ones that reveal that we're significantly more anxious than countries in the developing world, many of which report only a fraction of the diagnosable cases of anxiety that we do. One of the reasons for this is that the people in many of these third-world nations are more accustomed to dealing with uncertainty and unpredictability. I talk about this a fair amount in the book, but lack of control is really the archenemy of anxiety. It's its biggest trigger.
Peter Lawler meditates on this finding:
Is it true that more "rational control" we have, the more anxious we are? Maybe that's because each of us is stuck with knowing how much the very future of one's own being is in one's own hands. We're stuck with being control freaks, always calculating--nervously or anxiously--about our personal security. We're the people least likely to relax and let God or nature take its course.