Psychology’s Laura Grafe on Ambient Stress for Time Magazine

July 28, 2022

Assistant Professor of Psychology Laura Grafe is among the researchers highlighted in a Time magazine article about ambient stress, or “stress that’s running in the background, below the level of consciousness,” according to New York-based clinical psychologist Laurie Ferguson.

Grafe, who along with Associate Professor of Psychology Laurel Peterson and Andrew Gargiulo, a post-doctoral fellow in Grafe's lab, authored a 2021 study about stress, coping, resilience, and sleep during the pandemic, explains that humans have evolved to cope with short-term stressors, but not constant stress.

From the article:

“Everything else just seems worse with chronic stress of the pandemic going on in the background,” says Grafe.

A behavioral neuroscientist, Grafe suggests mindfulness exercises and cognitive behavioral therapy as helpful coping techniques for chronic stress.

Grafe runs The Grafe Lab, a behavioral neuroscience lab at Bryn Mawr College, where she studies how stress affects the brain and may lead to behavioral phenotypes relevant to mental health.