Coping with different types of stress
Feeling stressed from time to time is normal, whether it’s from a bad workday or watching the news about the coronavirus pandemic. But when the anxiousness and pressure build or stick around for days or weeks, stress can negatively impact your health. The American Psychological Association (APA) identifies three categories of stress: Acute—the kind from a one-time event like a big move or a death in the family; acute episodic, which occurs when you face a dreaded situation on a semi-regular basis; and chronic stress from persistent issues like difficult finances, serious trauma, or a bad work environment. Managing your stress first requires that you identify the source: Our mental health experts recommend looking at these potential stressors so that you can make a plan for coping.
Type of stress: Ambient anxiety
Ambient anxiety is a type of stress that can be potentially chronic, and it is enhanced during current events and world unrest, such as the coronavirus pandemic. It can strike anytime you turn on the news or hear about someone else’s ill-fortune. Ambient anxiety is not empathy, but rather, a stress-laden, intense reaction to bad news. This can range from a nearby robbery, for example—coupled with the fear that it will happen to you or to a loved one.
“People who suffer from ambient anxiety have not developed an internal psychological and emotional barrier. Things they see and hear penetrate them to their core,” explains Beverly Hills-based psychotherapist, Fran Walfish. Her tips for eradicating ambient anxiety include lots of self-care, plus limiting your daily intake of news. “It also helps to avoid negative people. When trying to keep a positive attitude, you must avoid people who thrive on negativity,” she adds. Try these simple ways to make managing stress much easier.