Emotions can be confusing. They come all at once, or not at all. They can seem completely reasonable or completely out of place. Emotions are certainly an essential aspect of human beings, but do they have to be so messy? With so many other things to worry about, it’s easy to feel a desire for more control over our inner selves. The first step to dominating our inner selves is understanding, and that is what this article is all about.
In this article, stress is the emotional target that will be broken down and investigated. By dismantling stress into component parts, and by carefully defining these, our hope is that people suffering from stress (everyone?) might get a better handle on their lives. After all, Spire is all about helping you gain understanding and control over the sometimes stormy world of your inner self – after all, knowledge is power.
This article will be breaking down stress into three different types, explaining what each is and how it can affect you, and how you can deal with each type. By being able to identify the type of stress you are feeling, you will be better able to manage stress over all.
Type 1: Acute Stress
Of all the different types of stress, acute stress is considered the most common among the general population. You have most likely experienced it many times. This form of stress is deemed acute because it is usually short-lived and specific. When it comes to acute stress, the cause of the stress is often immediately apparent. Acute stress will be triggered by an imminent emotional or physical threat, such as demands on your schedule or the pressure that comes from being in an upsetting situation.
In most situations, small doses of acute stress are normal and can even feel a little exciting. For example, if you are handed a major project at work to get done by the end of the day, you may feel a little exhilarated as you watch the seconds on the clock count down and feel the rush of stress pushing you to get done. However, stress can also be psychologically and physically disturbing, especially if you experience many bouts of acute stress in your daily life.
Common Symptoms of Acute Stress
● Tension headaches
● Muscular tension, such as in the back, neck, or jaw
● Emotional distress, such as feeling agitated, anxious, or depressed
● Stomach irritation, such as heartburn, constipation, or diarrhea
● Sweating, especially your palms, underarms, or forehead
● Rapid heart rate
● Elevated blood pressure
● Shortness of breath
Treatment of Acute Stress
Acute stress is highly recognizable by most people because its trigger is immediately apparent and therefore easy to point out. You may have problems with your significant other, be involved in an auto accident, or even wake up feeling stressed because you have a long list of things to get done that day. Most of the time, the symptoms you experience with acute stress will be brief and easily manageable.
The key to acute stress management is learning how to control your emotional response to stress itself. It’s not about trying to stop the stress, as it comes on too quickly to prevent for occurring, and ultimately well-managed stress is healthy and helps us be more effective in our day to day. Instead, it’s about managing your psychological responses to the acute stress you are experiencing. For some people, that will mean stepping away for a minute and doing breathing exercises or yoga, but for others, it may mean channeling the stress into energy and motivation to deal with the trigger at hand and move past the stressful experience quickly.
Type 2: Episodic Acute Stress
While a certain level of acute stress is normal, for some people, acute stress becomes almost a regular facet of life. If you are constantly feeling the pressure because your life hands you too many overwhelming situations or you constantly feel like you are one step away from absolute disaster, you could be dealing with what is known as episodic acute stress. Even though episodic acute stress is most often created by taking on too much at one time and doing things yourself that put you in repeated stressful situations, the symptoms can be just as alarming, and this ongoing stressful lifestyle can lead to physical and psychological problems.
Symptoms of Episodic Acute Stress
● Constant feelings of being on edge
● Struggling with persistent anxiety, ill-temperament, and easy to anger
● Having a great deal of nervous energy in your day-to-day life
● Chronic fatigue or difficulty sleeping
● Migraines and tension headaches that happen on a regular basis
● Chest pain, rapid heartbeat, and elevated blood pressure
● Personal relationship problems
● Higher risk of heart disease
Treatment of Episodic Acute Stress
Treatment of episodic acute stress can be a tricky thing because many people who struggle with this form of stress are not aware that something is wrong. You may become so used to living your life in fast-forward and dealing with everyday stress that you just assume the notion of “that’s just the way life is.” However, to protect your health, treatment is incredibly important.
Long-term episodic stress can put you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and mental illnesses. Most often, treatment for episodic acute stress is not a one-and-done thing, but rather a multi-faceted lifestyle adjustment. Treatment can involve instruction on stress management, but also educating a patient on things like time management and responsibility delegation.
Type 3: Chronic Stress
While acute and episodic stress can be fleeting, chronic stress is most persistent. This is the type of stress that usually comes from life situations like an unhealthy relationship, living in long-term poverty, or any other miserable situation. Chronic stress usually sets in when you can’t see any way out of a stressful situation, so you stop trying to find a solution to your problems and choose to deal with the emotional turmoil instead.
People who suffer from chronic stress are most at risk for developing medical conditions related to the long-term problem and can be at higher risk of attempting suicide. The biggest problem with chronic stress is that some people can get so familiar with this lifestyle that they sometimes don’t even recognize that there is still a problem. Some people who are dealing with chronic stress don’t realize there is an issue until physical symptoms start to show up and their doctor brings up the idea that chronic stress could be a factor in their health condition.
Health and Safety Risks of Chronic Stress
People who struggle with chronic stress can face a lot of health issues. This is partially because those dealing with chronic stress often don’t take care of themselves and may partake in behaviors that are unhealthy, such as overeating or smoking.
● Lung disease
● Cardiovascular disease
● Drug and alcohol dependence
● Some types of cancer
● Significant weight gain or weight loss
Treatment of Chronic Stress
Treatment of chronic stress most often involves therapy with a licensed psychologist to help you learn how to effectively deal with the stress you face in your life. In many cases, people have spent so long dealing with a chronic stress trigger in their lives that it takes a lot of therapy for them to see where the stress problem stems from, making the problem that much which makes the problem that much harder to resolve.
In some situations, chronic stress treatment can involve medicinal treatments to combat the symptoms of being stressed. While this does not get rid of the stress itself, it can help you better control your emotional and physical reactions to the problems you are facing.
Regardless of the stress that is plaguing your life, Spire is there to help you manage it properly. Spire helps you identify when you are stressed, and armed with the information in this post, you can be better equipped to dealing with the stress at hand. Since Spire tracks your wellness information over time, Spire makes it easy to identity if you are afflicted with chronic stress, and need to make some more drastic lifestyle changes.
Managing stress can become a source of stress in and of itself. This is especially true when you are confused about why you are stressed and why it happens the times it does. When a clearer idea of stress is developed, a clearer plan can be created to deal with it.