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Types Of Stress 

Types of Stress

  • Acute Stress
  • Episodic Stress
  • Chronic Stress

Did you know there were different types of stress? Are you thinking I thought stress was stress?

It is often thought that there is only one sort of stress, this is the common belief. However this is far from the truth and in fact there are three main guises stress comes in.

Knowing what they are, how they affect you and recognizing that you may be suffering from stress, is essential in preventing it from controlling and damaging your life.

The 3 main types of stress


Acute Stress

Acute (meaning = having a rapid onset )

Acute stress is the most common form of stress experience as it is associated with CHANGE. Change is something which all of us experience quite often these days. It can be defined as many things, here are just a few examples;

  • Change in eating habits or diet
  • starting a new job
  • Changing exercise levels (both more or less)
  • bereavement
  • meeting new people

Basically anything which is not the norm both, physically and mentally, this can even include good things such as promotion or coming into money.

Human beings like a level or routine in their lives and so any changes to that routine can upset the balance. If you are the sort of personality that does not like change, or copes with it badly, then it is likely that you will experience some sort of stressful reaction to these changes.

Episodic Stress

Episode (meaning = coming one after the other in a series)

If you string lots of changes together in your life it turns from being acute stress to episodic stress.

Change after change, day after day, people will often describe times like this as being on a roller coaster.

This type of stress goes on for an extended period of time. We all have had times in our lives when we have experienced months or even years where things have happened unexpectedly or changed constantly.

You find yourself having to cope with one change after another, never having time to settle again or get into any sort of routine. This is episodic stress and the people who suffer it are often very anxious and irritable people and easy to spot.

A hidden cause of this type of stress is WORRY. If you are the sort of person who is always worrying about this and that, even if nothing has actually happened then this too can cause episodic stress.

Would you say you were a worrier?

Here are a few examples of a worrier and if this sort of worry continues over a period of time then becoming stressed by it is a certainty.

Do you:

  • Loss sleep for lying awake at night thinking about death
  • worry about becoming ill even if you are perfectly well
  • Look on the black side and be pessimistic all the time, convinced that something bad is about to happen
  • take no risks and lead a very safe and conservative life as you worry that you could badly hurt yourself

Chronic Stress

Chronic (meaning continuing for a long period of time)

Of all the types of stress this one is unrelenting and goes on throughout the lives of some people. It is caused by life situations that do not change but affect how you live on a daily basis.

Some examples that may be the cause of chronic stress:

  • Long term illness
  • Poverty
  • dysfunctional family life
  • Doing a job you hate
  • suffering from low self esteem from a young age

The trouble with chronic stress is that because it goes on for such a long period of time, people accept it as being part of their lives they cannot change. They give up trying to do something about their situation and succumb to the ill affects of long term stress, such as:

  • depression
  • serious health conditions
  • a joyless life

In short, all three types of stress can produce the same signs of distress in our lives. It depends on how we cope and manage those stresses which will determine if we experience any long term ill affects from them. Recognizing these types of stresses in your life is one of the first steps in learning how to cope with them. After all if you deny you are stressed, then how can you prevent it from harming your life.

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