Everyone feels stress at some point in their lives, whether at home, at work, in their relationships, or at school. There are many reasons why people feel this way and just as many ways to relieve stress. However, not every stress-relieving technique works for everyone. Often, this is because there are many different types of stress, which may require different stress relievers.
The fact remains that coping effectively is important since stress has been linked to a number of diseases. Ultimately, holistically managing stress can enable you to cope with your overwhelming feelings and change your experience. Understanding the type of stress you’re facing can help you find a coping strategy that works for your personality and the situation you’re in.
Here are the eight most common types of stress:
Type #1: Acute Stress
Acute stress is a type of stress that can be triggered quickly. However, it can be reversed with mild stress-relieving techniques or regular sessions with a registered psychotherapist. Some common causes of acute stress include an upcoming job interview or exam or a heated argument that’s quickly resolved.
This type of stress doesn’t last long and can usually be managed with breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, mini-meditation, and cognitive reframing. These strategies enable you to take a breath, regroup, and calm down, which helps you manage your stress levels in momentarily difficult times.
Type #2: Episodic Acute Stress
Episodic acute stress occurs when you feel as though you’re constantly living in a state of tension. You have mini-crises regularly and worry too often. Many people face episodic acute stress because they’re overburdened and taking on too much. Having to deal with a pattern of episodic acute stress can wear away at your life and happiness. Thist ype of stress can also lead to the use of unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as binge eating or drinking.
If you often feel under pressure or in a rush, you may be living with episodic stress. A long-term approach to stress management is required to reverse the ingrained habits that lead to this type of stress.
Type #3: Chronic Stress
Chronic stress can be more difficult to cope with because it doesn’t go away quickly. Rather, it occurs on a regular basis and can make you feel constantly drained or burned out. Typically, this is because your body cannot bounce back from the stress response or return to a state of calm before the next moment of stress comes, so your body is always in this heightened state of reaction.
Serious situations like poverty, war, a failing marriage, long-term abuse, or unemployment can lead to chronic stress. Left unmanaged, this type of stress can lead to a range of health problems, including anxiety, depression, and cardiovascular disease.
A combination approach is usually taken to cope with chronic stress. Short-term stress relievers like breathing techniques are used alongside long-term stress-relieving habits, such as solution-focused and emotion-focused coping techniques, to help manage a state of general stress. Some of these long-term habits include maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, meditating regularly, building a support system, and listening to music.
Type #4: Situational Stress
This type of sudden, acute stress often arises out of a conflict in a relationship or a loss of acceptance or status – any situation that makes you feel like you have no control. Making a big mistake at work or getting laid off are some specific examples of situational stress.
Type #5: Time Stress
This type of stress is becoming increasingly common in the chaotic world we live in, where we are expected to do more in less time. If you often worry about having enough time to do all the things you need to do, you’re likely under time stress. And this can make you feel hopeless, helpless, and trapped.
Learning time management skills and prioritizing your to-do list can help you manage time stress, feel more accomplished, and feel less exhausted.
Type #6: Anticipatory Stress
Anticipatory stress can be a type of acute stress, where your stress is focused on a big upcoming event, like a job interview, a public-speaking event, or a presentation. But it can also be more episodic, where you face a general sense of dread about the future and constantly worry that something will go wrong.
Positive visualization techniques to re-imagine the situation in a more positive light can help you cope with anticipatory stress.
Type #7: Emotional Stress
This type of stress can hit especially hard. It tends to bring about a strong sense of distress and a strong physical reaction. An example of emotional stress is a conflicted relationship.
Using strategies that help you build resilience and process your emotions more effectively can help here. These strategies can include practicing mindfulness, talking to a friend, listening to music, and writing in a journal.
Type #8: Encounter Stress
This type of acute stress comes into play when you’re worried about seeing a specific person or group of people. This can not only occur when you have to see someone you don’t get along with but when you become drained from interacting with too many people as well. Working on your people skills and emotional intelligence can help counter this type of stress.