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What's Your
Stress Type?
It's impossible to completely eliminate bad stress from your life, but you can learn to avoid and manage it.
Stress can affect your physical and mental health, and your behavior. Your body responds to stress by producing chemicals and hormones to help you rise to the challenge. Your heart rate increases, your brain works faster, and you have a sudden burst of energy. This response is basic and natural and is what kept our ancestors from falling victim to hungry predators. But too much stress can have harmful effects.
1. Acute stress

Acute stress is the most common type of stress. It's your body's immediate reaction to a new challenge, event, or demand, and it triggers your fight-or-flight response. As the pressures of a near-miss automobile accident, an argument with a family member, or a costly mistake at work sink in, your body turns on this biological response.

2. Episodic acute stress

When acute stress happens frequently, it's called episodic acute stress. People who always seem to be having a crisis tend to have episodic acute stress. They are often short-tempered, irritable, and anxious. People who are "worry warts" or pessimistic or who tend to see the negative side of everything also tend to have episodic acute stress.

Negative health effects are persistent in people with episodic acute stress. It may be hard for people with this type of stress to change their lifestyle, as they accept stress as a part of life.

3. Chronic stress

If acute stress isn't resolved and begins to increase or lasts for long periods of time, it becomes chronic stress. This stress is constant and doesn't go away. It can stem from such things as:

  • Poverty
  • A dysfunctional family
  • An unhappy marriage
  • A bad job
Chronic stress can be detrimental to your health, as it can contribute to several serious diseases or health risks, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Lung disease
  • Accidents
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Suicide
Stress affects each person differently. Some people may get headaches or stomachaches, while others may lose sleep or get depressed or angry. People under constant stress may also get sick a lot. Managing stress is important to staying healthy.

It's impossible to completely get rid of stress. The goal of stress management is to identify your stressors, which are the things that cause you the most problems or demand the most of your energy. In doing so, you can overcome the negative stress those things induce.

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