There are many ways that we can classify kinds of stress. Often times this is done in two main ways. We either define stress based on where it is found in the body, or the time duration that the stress is experienced.
Both ways give us a good insight and understanding the different kinds of stresses we might experience in our lives.
Let’s first discuss stress based on location in the body, and then we will move on to time dependent stress.
2 Kinds Of Stress Based On Location
There are many aspects of our bodies that can suffer from prolonged activity. Both our physical and mental self have the ability to experience stress during our lifetime.
As it says in the name, emotional stress is something that negatively impacts our emotional health. Emotional stress typically affects our thoughts and our ability to think logically.
That being said, it is a common misconception that emotional stress symptoms can only be felt by our emotions. In fact, this kind of stress has both physical, mental and behavioral symptoms. Classic physical symptoms can be:
- Shortness of breath via heavy feeling of the chest
- Worse sleeping habits
- Stomach aches
and the list goes on.
Emotional stress is often caused by overwhelming mental work. It is typically seen in students for example, who will spend days cramming information into their heads for upcoming exams. But many people can suffer from emotional stress. Keeping all your emotions bottled up inside of you can also lead to emotional stress.
It is safe to say that we will all suffer from emotional stress at some point in our lives. So what are some good strategies at countering this type of stress?
Ways to decrease emotional stress
Like most problems in life, it is important to understand whatever it is you are trying to solve. Therefore it is of the utmost importance that you get to grips with your struggles by journaling about your feelings!
I always suggest writing things down in a journal when trying to figure out what exactly you need to tackle.
For this particular case, You should write about all the emotions you have experienced during the day. Really try and pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. When doing so, you will most certainly come across emotional stress triggers. It could be a friend canceled on you, and it put you into a really bad mood.
Once these stressors are identified, we can begin working on them and minimizing their effects on our lives.
I have written an in-depth article on strategies you can use to decrease emotional stress. If you want to learn more about this type of stress, make sure you check out that article here!
On the contrary, physical stress refers to how physical activities negatively affect our body.
One of the most common examples is travel. Frequent travel can wreak havoc on our sleeping patterns and hence can have a real negative effect on our bodies. The main reason for this is because we end up in different time zones when we travel. It takes out body some time to get used to these new times. If we do not take enough time to adjust ourselves, we end up lacking sleep.
Physical stress can also come from less fun activities. If you have a physically intensive job, you might have had days where it just hurts to get out of bed in the morning. This is also a type of physical stress.
Physical stress is not to be underestimated. While there are better cures to physical aches than for mental aches, it is no reason to not take care of our bodies!
That being said, physical stress can often lead to emotional stress. When we lack sleep, we are impeding our brains ability to regulate our emotions. If this goes on for too long, we can become emotionally stressed.
Sleep is such an important part of our physical and mental well-being. If you are someone that struggles with sleep, make sure you check out my guide to sleeping better!
3 Types Of Stress Based On Duration
Now that we have gone over the types of stress we can feel in relation to our emotional and physical self, it is time to discuss the duration differences between types of stress.
In this category, there are 3 main kinds, each with different effects on our body!
1. Acute Stress
Every day we experience some kind of stress. You might be called into your boss’s office for a quick chat. You immediately get nervous and stressed out about what might happen. Your boss might simply congratulate you for your excellent performance this month, but you still felt the stress.
This kind of short term stress is also known as acute stress.
The symptoms of acute stress typically are:
- Upset stomach
- Increased heart rate
The consequences of acute stress are almost 0 when it comes to our long term health, so they are not to worry about too much. However they might still impact your performance on giving a speech for example. So it might still be worth finding a solution to your acute stress triggers!
2. Episodic Acute Stress
While acute stress was because of random circumstances, episodic acute stress happens on a more regular basis. Whether something is simply acute stress or episodic stress largely depends on what kind of person you are and what type of environment you are in.
You might have a job where you just work at your desk most of the time. When someone asks you to do a presentation, and you get stressed about it, you are experiencing acute stress.
However, if your job requires you to give presentations of a regular basis, and you are stressed about it, then this becomes episodic acute stress.
The symptoms of this type of stress are practically identical to acute stress.
That being said, the consequences are often times much more severe!
If you do not manage your episodic acute stress symptoms properly, they can lead to much more seerious events. They can be the stepping stones to developing clinical depression and heart disease, so it it is of vital importance that you keep these symptoms in check!
3. Chronic Stress
Chronic stress is a kind of stress that you feel for a prolonged time constantly. It differs from episodic acute stress in the sense that chronic stress is felt 24/7 while episodic acute stress is felt regularly, but not all the time.
Our body experiences stress whenever it feels that it is threatened. Throughout history, it has always been like that, so it is completely normal!
That being said, times now have changed. What our ancestors perceived as threats differs greatly than for those living in developed countries. However our bodies response to those perceived threats has not changed, and this causes us issues.
When we let problems get to us, our body sees this as a threat to our existence, so it triggers stress in us to be aware and able to fight of the threat. The problem is that these threats can be everyday things.
Common examples of such perceived threats are:
- Taking on a big responsibility at work
- Overload of work to be done
- Paying bills
- Maintaining a large number of social contacts
As you can see, we all experience most of these examples in our lives.
Now I am not saying you can and should avoid them, but you should be aware that if you let the stress of these activities build up too much overtime, they can have disastrous effects on our health.
Health effects of chronic stress
As mentioned above, the issue with chronic stress is that these stressors are active 24/7 for weeks, months and even years. This means that our body is in a constant fight or flight mode.
This brings with it a list of negative health effects. Some such examples are:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle Pain
- Sleeping disorders
- Eating disorders
- Heart diseases
When this kind of stress is not dealt with and treated, we can be in a world of hurt.
How to manage chronic stress
There are several ways to manage chronic stress, most of which are lifestyle changes.
The health risks associated with chronic stress are severe, so the actions we must take to fight against this are similarly quite large. Let’s get into some ways to fight against chronic stress!
1. Become active
Physical exercise has shown time and time again to be a great way to relieve your body of stress.
One of the ways it achieves this is by supplying your mind with positive hormones and signals. This dramatically improves your mood and reduces stress. Not only that, but it puts your mind off the troubles of life.
A big extra is that physical exercise carries with it a wide range of other health benefits as well!
Now this doesn’t mean that you have to train to run a marathon next month. simply by going for a walk for about 30 minutes can be a very effective and easy way to get started.
2. Let go of what you cannot control
A lot of people hold on to stress that they simply have no control over. You might be worried that you get to work late because you are always stuck in traffic. Ultimately you can do nothing about it. Realize that nothing you do will magically make all the traffic around you disappear.
Just let go of all the stress about such things. You will get to your work when you get there.
If you are able to do this, you will be in a position where you can relief yourself of so much stress. It will be a blessing for your health!
3. Prioritize your sleep
Sleep is when we give our brains the opportunity to revitalize and regain strength. It is also during sleep that your brain is able to process all that happened during the day.
We need our brain to be in perfect fighting shape to be able to deal with the daily stresses in life, particularly those that lead to chronic stress.
If you want some more tips regarding better sleep, make sure you check out my dedicated article on tips to sleep better here!
There are many kinds of stress, and it is impossible for us to avoid all of it. That doesn’t mean however that we cannot find ways to fight against the negative effects of stress.
It is vital that we find stress reducing methods and habits that we can use in our daily lives. I am in the process of writing an ultimate guide to managing stress. If you feel like you need/want more information regarding stress management, make sure you keep an eye on my most recent posts and archived articles!
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