Types of Stress
It is not widely known, but there are actually four types of stress that we encounter in throughout our lives. The first type is known as General Stress. This is the kind of stress that resolved itself within a day or two and does not require intervention. An example of this type of stress would be meeting a deadline for a project at school or work.
The second type of stress is Cumulative Stress. This type of stress builds up in your body. It usually is associated with more serious physical symptoms and mental anguish. Overtime, it becomes more difficult to alleviate your symptoms. An example of this type of stress may be dealing with unreasonable school or work demands (i.e. long hours, no breaks, hours of homework).
The third type of stress is Acute Traumatic Stress (or Critical Incident Stress). This type of stress is a psychological condition arising in response to a terrifying or traumatic event, or witnessing a traumatic event that induces a strong emotional response within the individual. Examples of this type of stress may be witnessing a natural disaster or a death.
The fourth type of stress is Post Traumatic Stress. This type of stress produces severe stress as a result of severe psychological trauma. It is typically created by unresolved Acute Traumatic Stress.
Symptoms of Stress
It is important to identify the type of stress you have because you may need to seek help from a licensed counselor or therapist to help relieve the symptoms of stress. Some examples of short term physical symptoms include:
- Dry mouth
- increased sweating
- rapid breathing
- faster heart rate
- tense muscles
- frequent urination
Long term physical symptoms include:
- change in appetite
- sexual disorders
- aches and pains
- frequent colds
- feelings of intense and long-term fatigue
- more prone to illness
There are additional behavioral symptoms that have a negative effect on your performance. Examples include:
- More accident prone
- being more forgetful
- being very negative
- neglect your appearance
- make poor judgements
- make more mistakes
- increased absenteeism
Healthy Living Activities
Healthy living activities can help you conquer stress. Here are some ways you can take control to reduce your stress:
- Change your diet (lower salt intake, lower intake of refined sugars and carbohydrates, lower caffeine intake, drink more water, and eat more fruits and vegetables)
- Get at least 6 hours of continuous rest
- Exercise at least 20 minutes five times a week
- Talk things our with trusted family and friends
- Make an effort to organize your life
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Learn to manage anger
- Fill your life with fun things to do
- Make relaxing a part of your daily routine
Stress is a part of life that affects everyone; but certain types of stress are more harmful to your well-being than others. It is important to identify the symptoms so that you can take action before it produces long-term physical and behavioral problems. Please seek help from a licensed counselor or therapist before it gets out of hand. As always, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]. You can also visit my website at https://www.calmbluewaterscounseling.com/.
Stress Management Tips to Better Help You Cope with Stress
The following list of stress management tips can help you rebalance your life and feel more at ease:
- Breathe easily: Breathing from your diaphragm oxygenates your blood, which helps you relax almost instantly.
- Visualize calm: It sounds new age-y, but it's highly effective in reducing stress.
- Give yourself a mini self-massage: Massage the palm of one hand by making a circular motion with the thumb of the other.
- Try a tonic: Try a nerve tonic from your local health food store or consult a licensed homeopath.
- Say cheese: Smiling is a two-way mechanism. We smile when we're relaxed & happy but smiling can also make us feel relaxed & happy.
- Take your stress temperature: Rate your current stress level on a scale of 1-10 to gain perspective. It may be lower than you think.
- Stop gritting your teeth: Stress tends to settle in certain parts of our bodies, the jaw being one of them.
- Compose a mantra: Devise an affirmation -- a short, clear, positive statement that focuses on your coping abilities.
- Check your chi: Chi is the vital life force that flows throughout the body. It regulates the body’s functions.
- Be a fighter: At the first sign of stress, don’t complain: focus on being predictive, proactive & responsive, not just reactive.
- Write it down: Writing provides perspective. Get your thoughts down on paper.
- Count to 10: Before you say or do something you'll regret, step away from the stressor and collect yourself.
- Switch to decaf: Wean yourself slowly, though, or you might get a caffeine-withdrawal headache. Work with the body, not against it.
- Just say no: Trying to do everything is a one-way ticket to serious stress. One of the most important stress management tips.
- Take a whiff: Oils of anise, basil, bay, chamomile, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, rose, and thyme are all soothing.
- Create some friction and warmth. Then cup them over your closed eyes for 5 seconds & breathe.
- Say yes to pressure & tapping: Acupressure & EFT Tapping stimulate your acupuncture points with fingers instead of needles.
- Schedule worry time: Many low-grade stressors can be dealt with at a later time, when it's more convenient.
- Shake it up: Stand or sit, stretch your arms out from your sides and shake your hands hard for 10 seconds & breathe deeply.
- Munch some snacks: High-carbohydrate foods stimulate the release of serotonin, feel-good brain chemicals that help induce calm.
- Boost your vitamin intake: Take a daily, high-quality, well-balanced supplement. Modern diets lack most needed vitamins.
- Don’t forget minerals. There are dozens of important minerals needed by the body to operate the stress response system correctly.
- You are what you eat/drink. Beware randomly formulated nutrients, such as the B-complex. Quality and completeness count.
- Admit it: Pay attention to your personal stress signals to slow the buildup of negativity & anxiety. Everyone is different.
- Space out: Stare out the window and find something natural that captures your imagination. Dreaming is good.
- Try tea: Try the calming properties of Chamomile, Catnip, Passionflower, Skullcap or Kava Kava tea.
- Take a walk: It forces you to breathe more deeply and improves circulation.
- Soak it up: Nothing is more stress relieving than a hot bath. An excellent stress management tip for everyone.
- Play a few bars: Music soothes the savage “stress” beast. Try some classical, jazz or the natural sounds of nature.
- Fall for puppy love: Petting an animal for just a couple of minutes helps relieve stress. Get a dog.
- Practice mindfulness: Heighten your awareness of the moment by focusing intently on an object. Mindfulness leads to relaxation.
- Dial a friend: Sharing your troubles can give you perspective, help you feel cared for and relieve your burden.