Today we are living in a fast-moving and challenging world. At work, at home and even relationship issue that you and I will face in any way. All these emotions, physical or mental, give rise to what we called stress. It is intangible and silent within our body.
Stress is our body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. It is a normal part of life. We experience stress from our environment, our body, and our thoughts. We can’t avoid it but instead should understand what are the different kinds of stress and determine how better we could manage them.
Types of Stress
There are three main types of stress level namely acute, episodic acute, and chronic. Let’s dive in each of them to understand its symptoms and remedies to manage and cope with them.
- Acute stress
This stress is often resulted in fleeting moment caused by high tensions that can be experienced by strong emotions, tense muscles, increased heart rate, a quickening of breath and feeling lightheaded or faint spell. High stressful situations like last minute presentation in an important meeting; public speaking or unexpected emergency.
Other possible symptoms of acute stress:
- Emotional issues like irritability, anger or sadness
- Gastrointestinal problems like heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation or diarrhea
- Sweaty palms; rapid heartbeat; shortness of breath; dizziness
Amy Shah, M.D of integrative medicine doctor notes that acute stress is not as damaging as episodic acute or chronic stress to have potential aftermaths. In fact, our bodies have been designed to respond to this type of stress as a survival mechanism.
How to manage acute stress?
First, we have to recognize that our body is in a state of stress – try to be aware of your physical symptoms: is your heart beating fast and you feel agitated? Move yourself to a quiet place to calm your mind, or taking a walk for fresh air which can help your body and mind away from the fight-or-flight response that is acute stress. Alternatively, practicing mindfulness meditation by focus on making your exhales 2 seconds longer than your inhales or listening to your favorable music may ease the acute stress response.
2. Episodic stress
This stress is marked by recurring, intensely stressful events like episodes. Imagine taking care of a loved one who is sick or crisis after another coming over and over again that are impossibly difficult to handle. Episodic stress is more persistent than acute stress, which has repeating frequency. It is often found in people with Type A personalities, some physical symptoms are:
- Tension headaches
- Heart disease
How to manage episodic stress?
Treatment of this type of stress will require some form of lifestyle changes. Take a look at areas of your life that are stressful and determining where and how you can make any adjustments? Are there any commitments that you can change or drop? Or you have any support group you can reach out to for assistance or comfort?
Integrative psychotherapist, Alena Gerst, LCSW, RYT, suggests that we should continue our self-care routine: exercising, eating nourishing foods, and prioritizing sleep is essential for anyone who is going through a prolonged period of stress. Refrain from alcohol or self-medication or binge on sugar, thinking it may solve the issue. In extreme case, professional help may be needed.
3. Chronic stress
It is a state of constant stress experienced over a prolonged period of time in the examples of unhappy marriages and relationships, financial problems, racism, trauma and war. This kind of chronic and long-term stress will leave the body persistently flood with stress-related hormones, which can lead to other physical and emotional health concerns, such as trouble sleeping, reduced immune function, and in turn may lead to negative effect on cardiovascular health, as well as anxiety and depression.
How to manage chronic stress?
It is recommended to set limits to all work projects and commitments that you feel overwhelmed. Take a long breather if need to. Reach and tap into your support groups for guidance mentally and continue routine exercises to boost up immunity. Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol consumption will help, and seek medical assistance if need to. Always eat well and prioritize sleep.
It is also important to direct your energy and attention toward the good part of life. No matter how small the moments of gratitude is, it can create a positive effect and ease the effects of chronic stress. Thus being able to identify the source of your stress will help to gain a sense of control over the situation. Chronic stress is a manageable condition with many different treatment options, so it’s just a matter of finding the option that will work best for you.
Stress is unavoidable but it is not all bad to experience some forms of stress level, which maybe good in positive motivation. However too much of it is unhealthy. By knowing there are different types of stress that you may face with, you will learn to manage them and still maintain a more fulfilling life.
Stay happy and open, put up your running gears and embrace social support starting from today!