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Got free-floating anxiety? There’s a name for it and specific strategies to cope

Ever had the feeling that you can’t make sense of what’s happening? One moment everything seems normal, then suddenly the frame shifts to reveal a world on firestruggling with pandemicrecessionclimate change, and political upheaval.

That’s “zozobra,” the peculiar form of anxiety that comes from being unable to settle into a single point of view, leaving you with questions such as: Is it a lovely autumn day, or an alarming moment of converging historical catastrophes?

On the eve of a general election in which the outcome—and aftermath—is unknown, it is a condition that many Americans may be experiencing.

As scholars of this phenomenon, we have noted how zozobra has spread in U.S. society in recent years, and we believe the insight of Mexican philosophers can be helpful to Americans during these tumultuous times.

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