In a world so full of uncertainty it’s little wonder so many of us feel stressed. But understanding it can change how you feel

Why do so many people these days seem so stressed out and anxious? It’s a common question, among mental health professionals and laypeople alike, but there’s a case to be made that it’s exactly upside down. How come there’s anyone who isn’t paralysed by anxiety, every hour of every day? After all, anxiety thrives in conditions of uncertainty – and nowadays the world is full of potential threats we don’t fully understand and can’t control.

Most of us just have to take it on trust that planes won’t fall out of the sky, or that the milk in our fridge won’t give us listeria. Sudden, unpredictable movements in the global financial system threaten to ruin anyone’s livelihood at any moment; plus now we have all the many unknowns around Brexit, an unstable liar in charge of America’s nuclear codes, and the omnipresent spectre of climate change. And as if all that weren’t enough, we spend our days marinating in an online environment designed to stoke panic about any remaining threats we might have been managing to ignore.

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