Determine Your Stress Type

Pinpointing your stress type can be the first step towards finding a solution that will keep you feeling calm and happy no matter what life may bring. Different types of stress affect us in different ways. Some forms of stress are temporary, whereas others are ongoing. By identifying the stress type that you most often encounter, you can determine how to best attack the situation or behaviors that are producing strain and pressure. Look at these descriptions of the two classic kinds of stress, then decide if your primary stress type is acute or chronic. Then, read on for tips on handling each stress type.

Acute Stress
Acute stress is a sudden flare of uncomfortable tension that occurs when we encounter an unpleasant situation. Aggravation is a kind of acute stress, and anger is a common way for people dealing with this stress type to show the strain. Acute stress causes a flood of adrenaline and cortisol that prepare the body to deal with a predator. This stress type was useful in primitive times when the sudden rush of hormones allowed humans to fight enemies or to run away in a hurry, and we may have stress to thank for our survival as a species. However, in today’s modern world where we are rarely pushed to our physical limitations, this hormonal flood is often overkill.

Chronic Stress
Chronic stress is an ongoing feeling of tension that can seem very overwhelming, or may even feel completely inescapable. Often, this kind of continual, unpleasant stress can be related to an unsuitable situation, such as an extremely strenuous job, financial difficulty, or relationship troubles. The only way to get rid of chronic stress for certain is to change the situation, so if you are experiencing ongoing feelings of being worn down, it may be a good idea to re-evaluate your lifestyle to try and pinpoint the source of your continuing tension.

Dealing With Acute Stress
The acute stress type can be the most unsettling kind of tension, but it is also the easiest to deal with. If you experience a sudden rush of negative emotions at an event, or a sense of heightened energy and euphoria in an intense situation, you may be in the midst of a temporary stress episode. If you are experiencing temporary stress, it can be helpful to know that it will soon dissipate, as this knowledge can help you keep your perspective during the episode. To handle this stress type, breathe deeply and try counting to ten or twenty. This will help you end the acute episode quickly so that you can return to your naturally calm state and continue on with your day.

Dealing With Chronic Stress
If you have feelings of tension that seem more closely tied to your daily routine than to a single incident, you may be suffering from chronic stress. If this stress type is a regular part of your life, it may be possible for you to re-evaluate some of the lifestyle choices you make that keep your tension levels high. Take specific steps to minimize tension, like making a list of the causes of your chronic stress, and then formulating solutions to tackle the problems one by one. Evaluate your work and home life to find the causes of your chronic stress, and enlist the help of your friends and colleagues to eradicate problems. Dealing with this stress type is a long-term process, but the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be able to say goodbye to your chronic tension.

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