Human history is one of unending power struggles and violence. The patterns of behavior are established on the school ground and play out through adulthood. Every child has anxiety with it being more of a problem if he or she is from an abusive family. Aced Out They are thrown into the school system without any awareness what it is or how to process it. Then they are taught that having better self-esteem is a desirable trait – except it is not. Achieving self-esteem now means that your self-worth is dependent on the approval of others who are also searching for an identity.
One of the “solutions” for anxiety, or rather the normal response to it, is control. So all the players in this game are focused on gaining more control, which means that more power is desirable. So what we call “socialization” is simply a massive power struggle. This set of behaviors continues to play out in adulthood with horrendous results. Why would these early patterns change even though we intellectually know that love, peace and compassion are better principles by which to live our lives? Because these survival behaviors are part of the unconscious brain and are a million times stronger than the conscious brain.
There is even a physiological reward for being a bully. It has been shown that children who are bullied have an elevated C-reactive protein compare to those who have not been bullied. This is a marker of inflammation and high levels are associated with many disease states. What I find more disturbing is that the bullies had significantly lower levels. Power has its rewards. School or prison – what is the difference? Bullying
Anxiety is not a Psychological Problem
Then we treat anxiety from a psychological perspective as a mental health issue. This is an incorrect concept. Anxiety is a neurophysiological response to sensory input. It turns out in recent neuroscience research that thoughts are also sensory input that creates the same bodily response as other physical sensations. Pleasant input yields reward chemicals and a feeling of contentment. Unpleasant input stimulates stress hormones and you will feel anxious. What you are experiencing is the body’s chemical surges. The problem with human consciousness is that you cannot escape your thoughts. They will progressively become stronger over your lifetime regardless of your defense mechanisms – unless you address them correctly.
Cannot Escape Your Thoughts
When you lose control or are trapped by anything, including your thoughts you will become angry. Anger = loss of control It is the body’s survival response to elevate the stress chemicals that will improve your chances of solving a problem. Since we cannot escape our thoughts, we are all under an endless adrenaline/ cortisol assault. You will eventually become physically ill, depending on the sustained levels of these hormones.
What is even more problematic is the effect of untreated anxiety/ anger has on the human condition. People in power use fear to subjugate other people. This occurs in families, at work and at a societal level. It is the history of the human existence. For example, it has been the custom of nations to systematically torture conquered populations as the first act of rule. Do you think this is outdated and irrelevant? Seattle has a remarkable center that treats the survivors of torture from around the world. Their data shows that there are still over 118 nations that utilize political torture.
Although statistics show that the world has less violence than it ever has, it is still pretty awful. That basic power struggle has not changed. We are also headed down a dangerous path in that teen anxiety/ chronic pain has gone up over 800% in a decade. I am seeing this play out in my office every week. I am seeing many people in their late teens, twenties and early thirties that are suffering from crippling anxiety. They are also angry, reactive and often not open to new ideas.
We have to get this right – and soon. Every person has anxiety, whether they are connected to it or not. Instead of relaxing and enjoying the incredible comforts of living in this modern era we are becoming more reactive and angry (destructive). If the correct tools that solve anxiety were implemented in every school, we would have a much stronger chance of flourishing as a human race.
Untreated anxiety is the most important public health issue on our planet.