Stress Management 101

There isn’t a person in this world who hasn’t had to struggle through a stressful situation at some point in their life. We all deal with stress, however learning how to respond when a stressful situation arises can be beneficial both emotionally and physically.

Different Forms of Stress

Stress can manifest itself in many different ways. Here we’re going to discuss its three main forms.

Man dealing with acute stress

Acute Stress

Acute stress is the most frequently occurring form of stress that people experience. It is partially related to your innate fight-or-flight response, and usually doesn’t last very long. Maybe you just found out that you weren’t invited to a party that all of your friends are going to. Or perhaps you got stuck at a red light while driving to an important business meeting you were already running a little late for. Events like this trigger a biological response within your body that leaves you feeling anxious. The anxiety experienced is usually fleeting; however, in extreme situations it’s possible for a person to develop mental health problems such as Acute Stress Disorder.

Episodic Acute Stress

Episodic acute stress is what occurs when someone experiences acute stress on a regular basis. Do you know anyone who appears to be in a constant state of emergency? One who suffers from episodic acute stress is usually quick to anger, and overtly negative about almost everything. This “woe is me” attitude can potentially lead to certain forms of heart disease.

Episodic acute stress in the office
Dealing with chronic stress

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is a severely prolonged version of acute stress. People experiencing chronic stress feel perpetually hopeless and seem to have completely given up on avoiding the situation causing it. For example, someone who is involved in an abusive relationship yet continues going back to their abuser is suffering from chronic stress. This form of stress is detrimental to both mental and physical health.

Learning How to Successfully Cope with Stress

No one can completely avoid stress, however there are plenty of ways to cope with stress in a healthy manner.

Feeling emotional and nervous or having trouble sleeping and eating can all be normal reactions to stress. Here are some healthy ways you can deal with stress: *

  • Take care of yourself.
    • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals
    • Exercise on a regular basis
    • Get plenty of sleep
    • Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out
  • Talk to others. Share your problems and how you are feeling and coping with a parent, friend, counselor, or doctor.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. These may seem to help, but they can create additional problems and increase the stress you are already feeling.
  • Recognize when you need more help. If problems continue, talk to a psychologist, social worker, or professional counselor.

*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

Since stress is an unavoidable part being human, it’s important to find a coping mechanism that works for you. Once you’ve figured out the best way to personally manage your stress, you’ll be on your way to a happier, healthier life.

 
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