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What Is Ambient Stress And What Can We Do About It?

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Why are we all still so stressed?

Life is pretty much back to normal……But a new survey by the American Psychological Association finds 75% of people are still experiencing daily stress-related symptoms – including headaches, sleep issues, fatigue, and feeling overwhelmed.

Well, experts are blaming it on so-called “ambient stress” – which is stress that’s running in the background, below our level of consciousness. That’s according to clinical psychologist, Dr. Laurie Ferguson. It’s like the ambient noise in a coffee shop. You don’t even notice the machines buzzing, or the hum of conversation – but it’s there. And that’s what ambient stress is……It’s just always there, eating away at us. The journal Environment and Behavior describes ambient stress as chronic and negative, but we function like everything’s fine, when it’s really not. And, over time, it takes a toll. 

Now in 2020, we were acutely aware of our stress. So we started baking, doing zoom calls with friends, and walking around the neighborhood. But now that we’re constantly in a state of low-grade stress – it’s become part of us, so we’ve stopped trying to manage it.

So what can we do? Start managing it again! Dr. Ferguson says it helps to give your brain new stimuli. Even small changes, like eating something new for lunch, can introduce healthy novelty. And exercise is also key. It’s proven to override stress – even ambient stress.

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