• HEALTHCARE STAFFING & CONSULTING

Types Of Stresses: Explained!

Types Of Stresses: Explained! 626 442 kupplinadmin

According to the American Institute of Stress, at least 120,000 people die every year from work-related stress, while healthcare costs from work-related stress can be in the excess of $190 billion a year at an average.  The word stress itself refers to a feeling of emotional or physical tension, and it can also manifest as many different emotions. Anger and frustration are the most common responses to stress, followed by nervousness or anxiety. 

It can also be referred to as your body reacts to a certain challenge or demand by releasing certain hormones including cortisol and adrenaline.  This helps prepare the body for action, as these hormones increase the heart and breath rates. Stress can be a great motivator, for example when you need to meet a deadline or avoid a situation that may become dangerous but if it is a feeling that persists it may cause a lot more trouble, especially if the stress becomes overwhelming.

Any situation can cause stress, financial ups, and downs, spouses, bosses, even a bad interaction on the road. Some people tend to shake the stress off and can unwind by the end of the day, while some have a lot of issues letting go of the day’s trouble. If you find yourself nodding along to the second part of the sentence, perhaps doing a quick check on where your stress levels lie will be a good idea. 

Mostly, people feel stressed when they experience changes in their lives. For a lot of people, work seems to be the number one stress inducer, followed closely behind by school, family, and money. According to the American Psychological Association, stress can either be acute, episodic acute, or chronic stress. Even though all of these types affect our body, chronic stress is the most ignored but more on that later.

Acute stress is one that we feel the most often, you know the feeling where all of a sudden your heart races and your blood pressure may rise? Like when you miss a step while walking down the stairs and think for a second that you will fall or when you barely miss a serious accident or when you are behind on a deadline and still need to go handle another emergency in the family. In severe cases, acute stress may also set off a migraine or chest pain. Irritation, anxiety, sadness, and even sudden gut problems may arise but they soon settle themselves when the stress eases. 

Then there are times that our brain will be the sole reason your acute stress refuses to leave you. This may happen when an argument is replayed in your head long after it is done or when you stress about a deadline that is still far. This stress is usually manageable with calming techniques but it is important to ensure that your stress isn’t making you dysfunctional in your relationships or career.

Episodic acute stress is like a mini-crises occurring regularly, making a person live in a state of tension as a result of taking on too much or simply by being overburdened by their life. This results in a tense and angry body. Episodic acute stress often manifests itself much like acute stress but the episodes occur more often and can accumulate over the years. This could be through a badly managed workplace, where a person is constantly handed emergencies and deadlines. Acute episodic stress can also be caused by an unhealthy relationship that one cannot get out of, whether in the family or otherwise. If you feel like you fall under the episodic acute stress bracket, remember that even if you can’t take huge steps immediately, you can make small changes that will benefit you in the long run. Rethinking finances, adding exercise to your routine or even opting for talk therapy may help. Episodic acute stress, if not dealt with in time, can erode relationships and even cause hindrances at work. Some people may also develop unhealthy coping mechanisms that can manifest as binge eating or drinking or even remaining in bad relationships, while others may give up activities that gave them pleasure. Badly managed episodic acute stress can lead to heart disease or depression. 

Chronic stress is what literally wears us down over the years and it may stem from problems that are beyond our control. Abject poverty, a long-term or life-threatening illness, being in a war zone or even systematic racism can contribute to chronic stress. As mentioned in the start, stress is the body’s response to a challenge, so imagine if the challenge never goes away? Your body never feels safe enough to relax and living day to day becomes a preferred method of living. Childhood trauma may also develop into chronic stress, even if a person seems ok on the surface. So your circumstances may have changed since you felt the stress of the actual trauma or situation but you still may feel perpetually stressed as that is the way your body kept you safe as a child.

Symptoms of chronic stress include, not being able to focus, digestive problems, chronic fatigue, headaches, changes in appetite, low self-esteem, a perceived loss of control, rapid thoughts, feelings of helplessness, or a loss of control. If you identify with any of the feelings of chronic stress, please do not blame yourself, for that may exacerbate the problem further. If you feel like you are chronically stressed, getting help from a therapist or psychiatrist may be a good idea. 

Stress is dubbed a silent killer because it affects the body as a whole, from the heart to the gut, to the brain, everything comes on high alert when you are stressed. Think of yourself like an elastic band, when you tug on it lightly it moves from its place but snaps right back when the force is removed. This is exactly what happens when you get stressed. If the stress level gets higher than a certain point, the elastic snaps, and that is exactly what happens to a human being. Do not be like the elastic band and get help before you snap.

– Nida Khan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.