One Nation Under Stress: The Trouble with Stress as an Idea by Dana Becker

By Dana Becker

Pressure. everyone seems to be speaking approximately it, being affected by it, attempting desperately to control it-now greater than ever. From 1970 to 1980, 2,326 educational articles seemed with the be aware "stress" within the identify. within the decade among 2000 and 2010 that quantity jumped to 21,750. Has existence turn into ten occasions extra demanding, or is it the strain suggestion itself that has grown exponentially during the last forty years?

In One state below Stress, Dana Becker argues that our nationwide infatuation with the healing tradition has created a middle-class ethical critical to control the tensions of lifestyle by way of turning inward, ignoring the social and political realities that underlie these tensions. Becker exhibits that even supposing pressure is frequently linked to stipulations over which individuals have little control-workplace regulations destructive to kinfolk existence, expanding financial inequality, conflict within the age of terrorism-the rigidity thought focuses such a lot of our cognizance on how participants react to emphasize. A proliferation of self-help books and dire scientific warnings concerning the unwanted effects of tension on our actual and emotional overall healthiness all position the accountability for easing stress-though yoga, deep respiring, higher nutrition, etc.-squarely at the person. the tension notion has come of age in a interval of tectonic social and political shifts. however, we persist within the all-American trust that we will be able to meet those alterations via re-engineering ourselves instead of tackling the foundation factors of stress.

Examining either examine and well known representations of rigidity in cultural phrases, Becker strains the evolution of the social makes use of of the strain idea because it has been remodeled into an all-purpose automobile for outlining, expressing, and containing middle-class anxieties approximately upheavals in American society.

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Additional info for One Nation Under Stress: The Trouble with Stress as an Idea

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64 I believe that, among other things, the stress concept performs ideological work for us by managing much of our uneasiness about social change, whether in the pace of life in the wake of technological advancements, in gender arrangements as a result of the rise in dual-career marriages, or in the number and nature of uncontrollable external events such as the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Stress is “real” in the sense that people experience it and may suffer as a result of it, but it also can be said that the concept of stress has been created (and re-created) at certain places and times in our history65 and that it performs certain functions for our society.

Weighed 175 pounds, had low blood pressure and no major health problems. G. ’s friends called him “Speed Up George” and R. ” Meyer Friedman and a cardiologist colleague of his were confounded. After thoroughly examining the twins, they were unable to find “biological differences” between them. 124 In the mid-1950s, Friedman and Ray Rosenman began to explore what forces might be contributing to the development of coronary heart disease (CHD) among legions of middle-class managerial types. ” Searching for potential causes of the epidemic of coronary heart disease, he and Rosenman set about examining the dietary habits of San Francisco Junior League women and their husbands.

42 But even though the mission of doctors was to get men on their feet and back to work—in Beard’s words, “to put these patients into working order”43—doctors had real ambivalence about a competitive atmosphere that emphasized getting ahead no matter the cost. On the one hand, physicians were all for hard work: they repudiated idleness and felt compassion for men felled by overwork. 44 The period when men were granted permission to show their sensitivities in the form of nervous disease was to be short-lived.

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