How The U.S. Understands Stress

A woman lies on a bed with her hands on her face

How we think about stress as individuals and as a society can have a huge impact on our mental health. This review of the book One Nation Under Stress: The Trouble with Stress as an Idea explores the history of stress, the ways stress is gendered, and how focusing on individual stress can gloss over societal inequities and systems of oppression.

Are you as stressed out as I am? I only ask because, frankly, you look a little stressed. It must be the job. Or maybe the marriage. I mean, there’s so much to be stressed out about. Just look at the newspaper. Look at your bank account. Is your blood pressure rising yet? Well, you need yoga. No, wait, you need a drink. You need to relax. Because, with the way things are going, this stress is going to kill you.”