Stress might be useful for dodging sabre-toothed tigers, but it doesn't help so much with exams

Britain is becoming a more fearful place – and the economy is paying the price

Britain is becoming a more fearful nation, with rising levels of anxiety and depression that are fuelling the economic crisis by undermining confidence, a report says today.

Ben Chu: Sir Andrew Green's "British jobs"

Where is Sir Andrew Green, the chairman of Migrationwatch, coming from? Those who accuse him and his organisation of stoking xenophobia tend to find themselves in receipt of a letter threatening legal action, so I'm not suggesting anything of the kind.

Philip Pullman: Institutionalised paranoia is the enemy of a thriving society

I want to say something briefly about how virtue manifests itself in daily life, local life. I saw three things that gave me hope that the spirit of common public civic virtue is still alive. One of the examples I call "folk traffic calming". There were families living in a residential street that had become a rat-run for cars. They held a demonstration to show that the street is for everyone – not just people in large mobile heavy steel objects. They set up a living room in the road with a sofa and a coffee table and held a tea party. They put planters along the road containing bushes and small trees, not blocking it, just calming the traffic. The result was that cars could get through easily but had to slow down. Everyone shared the whole space.

Met Office admits: we've got it wrong

The Met Office admitted yesterday that it got it wrong over a seasonal forecast it issued last September predicting that the coming winter would be milder than average and drier than the same period last year.

Days Like These: 'I will never break a confidence. Not even for some chewing gum'

'One more thing..." said my friend on the phone – let's call him A – after he'd told me a spectacular piece of news. "Don't tell anyone, will you?"

Rachel Nickell's killer finally brought to justice

Rachel Nickell's killer was finally brought to justice today 16 years after she was brutally stabbed and assaulted in front of her young son.

India anxiety hits Volvo climax

As winds dropped anxiety rocketed for the final miles of the Volvo round the world race fleet approaching Kochi, south-west India, at the end if the second leg from Cape Town.

We live in an age of paranoia, says doctor

An "age of paranoia" is dawning at the start of the 21st century, a leading psychiatrist says. Dr Daniel Freeman, who has spent a decade conducting pioneering research into paranoia, believes one in four people regularly suffer irrational fears of being threatened or in danger.

Virginia Ironside's Dilemmas: What can I do about my wife's obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Dear Virginia, My wife suffers from a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder and our house is filled with old newspapers, bags of shopping, old food cartons, boxes and rubbish. I and my two teenage sons have had to move next door as there's no room to eat or sleep. The children are happy and balanced – there's no lack of love. A doctor has said that without help, which she refuses, she'll never get better. What can I do?, Yours sincerely, Rodney

Study seeks to uncover the science of embarrassment

No matter how often we are told not to feel embarrassed, right on cue, it seems, the first flush of blood starts to fill the cheeks and that gnawing sense of insecurity sweeps over us.

Deborah Orr: We are infected by our own anxiety

I remember my brother's fifth birthday as if it were yesterday. It was great for both of us because it was the day from which my parents – considered by us at the time to be impossibly strict and protective – allowed him to go out to play without adult supervision, as long as I was with him.

Pressures of growing up 'are damaging girls'

Girls as young as 10 are suffering stress, anxiety and unhappiness as they struggle to cope with the pressures of growing up, according to research published today.

My story: "As the course went on I got more anxious and depressed"

An increasing number of students are getting depressed. It can feel like you’re the only one when really many students will be going through exactly what you are feeling. Jamie found it very hard being in a new situation meeting new people. Read his story here…

Heart attacks? Cancer? No, the West's greatest health problem is anxiety

The writer Patricia Pearson talks about the fears that devoured her life

Anger 'endemic in British society'

"Problem anger" is ignored in the UK yet is endemic in society, according to a report published today.

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No postcode? No vote

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Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor