The 3 Types of Stress and Why It Is Important to Identify Them

The 3 Types of Stress and Why It Is Important to Identify Them

Stress is the body’s response to certain situations. It can help you act quickly in emergencies, meet deadlines, think fast. How is this possible?

The body responds to stress by producing chemicals and hormones. This leads to anything between fighting, fleeing or freezing. This is a natural response that helped our ancestors to survive in front of many hungry predators. But there is more…

Not all stress is bad. In some situations it helps you avoid accidents, stay clear-minded, finish a project, talk in front of a group of people. However, our modern life puts us in front of stressful situations that are not always good.

Types of Stress

1. Acute Stress

This is the most common type of stress. Some example are: a fight with a family member, an argument with your boss or colleague, a mistake you made at work, a phone call in the middle of the night.

Your heart rate and blood pressure might increase, you might feel irritable, anxious, sad or you might get a headache, a back or stomach pain. However, those symptoms are short lived. They tend to disappear when the stress eases.

2. Episodic Acute Stress

This is acute stress that happens more frequently. For example: a work environment where not everyone is on the same page, accumulating dead-lines or exams.

People who always seem to be having a crisis tend to have episodic acute stress. They are often irritable and anxious.

In time, this kind of stress can damage your work and relationships. Even more, if you turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms like drinking, binge eating can seriously damage your health.

If not managed in time, episodic acute stress can lead to heart disease and clinical depression.

3. Chronic Stress

If acute stress is not resolved, over time it becomes chronic. A constant stress that seem to not go away. 

This kind of stress can come from a bad job, a bad relationship, a dysfunctional family, poverty.

Chronic stress is very serious and leads to serious health problems like:

-heart disease




Why is it important to know the types of stress? When you feel it is “too much” try and identify what is the situation. Is it something acute that you know it is short lived? Is it the same thing that happened yesterday at work and will happen tomorrow? Or is it something more serious? Are you overreacting and this situation is actually temporary? Or have you been ignoring the signs for a very long time?

Knowing those types of stress should give you some perspective and also more understanding towards other people.

If you feel stress is part of your health problems and want to learn more about coping techniques contact me and let’s talk!

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