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The Ethics of Anxiety

Anxiety is a natural part of life – from brief moments of inner turmoil to some who suffer from a constant, painful hum making daily life a struggle. But why do we get it? What does it mean?  
 
In the medical community, anxiety is generally viewed as an individual psychological problem attributed to difficult thought patterns which can be treated with the likes of Lexapro, counselling or cognitive behaviour therapy.  Philosophers Søren Kierkegaard and Martin Heidegger saw anxiety as serving as a deeper revelation about existence, while Paul Tillich argued it was related to the loss of God and community structures. Others blame the pressures of capitalism and industrial society – the constant struggle to be ‘successful’, the precariousness of work, the expectation to perform on social media… and on it goes. Meanwhile, scientists continue to find neural underpinnings to the condition. 
 
Why is it some people’s adrenal glands can get so out of control? What role does the system play in ‘getting us down’?  Is it right that we are all being pressured into ‘thinking positively’?  Or is worry actually a sign that someone is a moral person? What are some of the breakthroughs in science and CBT?

Our expert panel included psychotherapist with Buddhist methodologies Genevieve David; Associate Professor Adam Guastella from the Brain & Mind Research Institute at Sydney Uni; philosophy teacher and PHD candidate Nick Malpas; and writer, social commentator and anxious person Kerri Sackville.

Couldn't make it? We were lucky enough to have Radio National record the event. You can listen in right now.