TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

Could the ways you cope with stress be undermining you? Here are healthier ways to respond

Good Anxiety is the title of the new book from NYU neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki PhD - but it's one that will surprise those of us who think of anxiety as strictly bad news. However, through her work, Suzuki has come to find, as she writes, that "anxiety can shift from something we try to avoid and get rid of to something that is both informative and beneficial."

The key is taking the information that your anxiety is telling you and using it to live in ways that support your well-being. Below, she explains how to evaluate the ways you cope with stress and change them for the better.

In the face of stressors and the anxiety they often trigger, we all develop coping strategies to manage and get ourselves back on track. These go-to behaviors or thought processes often function automatically, beneath our conscious awareness, and many were developed when we were younger and less mindful.

We developed these coping mechanisms to self-soothe or avoid uncomfortable feelings. But when these coping mechanisms stop working to manage stress, they tend to make matters worse, exacerbating our anxiety and undermining our belief that we are in control of our lives.

Continued here


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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

'Havana syndrome' and the mystery of the microwaves

Doctors, scientists, intelligence agents and government officials have all been trying to find out what causes "Havana syndrome" - a mysterious illness that has struck American diplomats and spies. Some call it an act of war, others wonder if it is some new and secret form of surveillance - and some people believe it could even be all in the mind. So who or what is responsible?

It often started with a sound, one that people struggled to describe. "Buzzing", "grinding metal", "piercing squeals", was the best they could manage.  

One woman described a low hum and intense pressure in her skull; another felt a pulse of pain. Those who did not hear a sound, felt heat or pressure. But for those who heard the sound, covering their ears made no difference. Some of the people who experienced the syndrome were left with dizziness and fatigue for months. 

Havana syndrome first emerged in Cuba in 2016. The first cases were CIA officers, which meant they were kept secret. But, eventually, word got out and anxiety spread. Twenty-six personnel and family members would report a wide variety of symptoms. There were whispers that some colleagues thought sufferers were crazy and it was "all in the mind". 

Five years on, reports now number in the hundreds and, the BBC has been told, span every continent, leaving a real impact on the US's ability to operate overseas. 

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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

Global inequality may be falling, but the gap between haves and have-nots is growing

In one of the most unequal countries in the world, South Africa, the poorest 40% have annual incomes of less than US$1,000 (£727) per person. The comparable incomes for the richest 10% are more than US$39,000 per person - nearly 40 times higher than those of the bottom 40%.

Those numbers, which are based on data from 2017, are actually something of an improvement on 2008, when the multiple was 50 times. But the gap in income between these groups grew by more than US$10,000 per person over this time. And more than two decades after the end of apartheid, the richest 10% are still predominantly from the white minority group, while the poorest 40% is the "exclusive" preserve of the black majority.

These extreme inequalities show that economic growth has neither been inclusive nor transformative - despite the country having implemented significant policies benefiting people with lower incomes in an effort to improve the disparity.

We've found similar situations in many countries - even those such as Brazil, China, India and Mexico where inequality is lower and tackling it has emerged as a fundamental development challenge.

Continued here


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