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Out of all the types of stress, ambient anxiety can be potentially chronic, and it gets fed by current events and world unrest. 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—a nearby robbery, for example—coupled with fear that it will happen to you or to a loved one. Like most types of stress, this can lead to body issues: Learn how to deal with weight gain, body pain, and other physical symptoms. “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, PsyD. Dr. Walfish is co-star of Sex Box on WE TV, and author of The Self-Aware Parent: Resolving Conflict and Building a Better Bond with Your Child. 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. Think you’re not stressed out? Body pain and weight gain are often signs of stress.
There are some creative ways to reduce work stress, and being proactive is a good idea: According to the World Health Organization, work-related stress causes ill health, reduced productivity, and poor motivation. It also increases on-the-job accidents. “A recent study in Preventive Medicine, indicated that prolonged exposure to work-related stress is linked to an increased likelihood of specific cancers, including lung, colon, rectal, stomach, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” adds Dr. Walfish. Some jobs, such as police detective and firefighter, have obvious, built-in stressors, but some of the most stressed out employees are those who have to answer to a boss, particularly if they feel powerless or underappreciated at work. Ways to combat work-related stress include physical activity. Commit to exercising, at least 30 minutes a day. This can be a brisk walk during your lunch hour, or as part of your commute home. It also helps to turn off the gossip machine. Avoid buying into or adding to negative feelings at work by discussing the situation with co-workers. Instead, discuss your feelings, calmly, and powerfully, with your boss.