From "The Maniac in Me," by Daniel Smith, The New York Times Magazine, April 20, 2012:
Contrary to popular belief, Buddhists can actually be very anxious people. That’s often why they become Buddhists in the first place. Buddhism was made for the anxious the same way Christianity was made for the downtrodden or A.A. for the addicted.
Its purpose is to foster equanimity, to tame excesses of thought and emotion. The Buddhists have a great term for the mental state these excesses produce. They refer to it as "monkey mind." A person in the throes of monkey mind suffers from a consciousness whose constituent parts will not stop bouncing from skull-side to skull-side, flipping and jumping and flinging feces at the walls and swinging from loose neurons like howlers from vines.
Buddhist practices are designed to collar these monkeys of the mind — to pacify them. Is it any wonder that Buddhism has had such tremendous success in the bastions of American nervousness on the West Coast and in the New York metro area?