While US citizens are earning and spending more, the resultant bills, requirements for heavy work, and poor life habits have resulted in an increase in stressful elements. While stress used to be a problem with adults of working age, it now affects all ages and all demographies. Not only is it harmful to the individual, it is also harmful to society: those who are in stress can engage in "maladaptive behaviors," which include criminal acts, such as violence against others, road rage and violence against property (Friedman). Stress can also be caused by lifestyle decisions: smoking, taking drugs (particularly stimulants like methamphetamines and cocaine), and overwork.
Many of the powerful elicitors of emotion in contemporary society-personal affronts, traffic congestion, pressing deadlines, public speaking engagements, unreasonable bosses, perceived injustices-do not require or even allow behavioral fight or flight (Friedman)1
The consequences of stress on one's body are complex. Much has been learned in recent years about the relationship between stress and circulatory disease. Recent clinical evidence has found a link between stress and inflammation, which in turn causes vessel injury, high blood pressure and obesity (Yudkin). Although general rates of heart disease are declining, rates of obesity are climbing at double-digit rates; it is estimated that of all Americans, or 66 million, are clinically obese (NIH). ...