America’s Stress Epidemic: The Paradox of Heart-Centered Stress Management

The pervasiveness of stress, worry and anger has become a worldwide epidemic. In 2018, worry and anger reached new global heights, especially in the U.S. According to an April 2019 Gallup poll, 55% of Americans said they experienced stress during “a lot of the day” – a shocking 20% higher than the global average of 35%.

Americans are feeling stress, anger and worry at the highest levels in 10 years, according to the new Gallup 2018 survey

These extreme levels of stress are the same as those experienced by those in Iran, Sri Lanka and Albania and are higher than those living in Rwanda, Venezuela and Turkey.

Additionally, 64% of Americans aged 15-29 and 65% aged 30-49 said they experienced stress “a lot”, clearly demonstrating the deep levels stress impacting both these younger and middle-aged groups.

We’re all aware of the many contributing factors to stress – financial insecurity, health challenges, relationship conflicts, workload, and political strife – that are all too common in America and beyond. In addition to understanding the underlying reasons that cause stress, at Heart Based Institute we feel it is imperative to deliver effective solutions that alleviate it.


Typically, when stress management is taught, people learn techniques to use when they start to get triggered by emotions, conflicts with others, or worry about the future. The idea is that by using stress management techniques, one is able to decrease or neutralize the intensity of the trigger before it escalates. For example, you mindfully become aware that you are having negative thoughts, judgments or emotional reactivity…and you make a conscious choice to stop feeding the pattern that has surfaced. Or after you become agitated, you use a stress management technique such as deep breathing or breath focus to quiet or soothe the sympathetic nervous system’s arousal. This is usually the main focus of mind based and stress management based approaches.


Being heart-centered is not just about learning to manage stress. It is about thriving instead of striving. Heart Based Institute is grateful to share how to manage stress without actually having to manage your stress. Although this sounds like a paradox, it has been a defining characteristic of those who learn to properly live a heart-centered life.

Using a heart based approach, stress doesn’t surface in the same way it does when the mind is dominant. This is because being heart-centered has a direct effect on the quality of our thoughts, which naturally become more harmonious. Additionally, in this state, our heart doesn’t take things personally like our mind can.


As you learn to live a heart-centered life, resiliency is a natural and effortless outcome. You experience events and circumstances from a totally different perspective. As a result, when we are properly heart-centered, our buttons don’t get pushed the way they do when the mind is the captain and the non-physical heart is in contraction. People and situations that may have triggered emotional or judgmental reactions no longer affect us like they used to. We respond rather than react. Situations that used to be viewed as stressful are now perceived from a neutral perspective without the reactive charge.

To experience our heart based approach for yourself, we invite you to participate in our Open Heart for Everyone training.