April is stress awareness month and there is no denying the face that stress is a real issue. Currently, we are all treading the waters of an incredible amount of stress. I think COVID-19 has created stress throughout the world. It isn’t easy during the best of times to not get caught up in the currents of stress, but we are all doing the best we can in life. Knowing that we are in stress awareness month and facing so much stress now, it is the perfect time to learn what exactly stress is and what the different types of stress are.
Stress is our body’s response to any type of demands or threats. Stress can be the cause of a job, financial struggles, family, loss of a loved one, health problems, relationships, and or social concerns such as climate change, politics, etc. The truth of the matter is about 8 in 10 Americans suffer from stress at some point in life.
According to the American Psychological Association, there are three main types of stress known as acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress. All three forms can affect a person’s physical and mental health in negative ways.
The most common form of stress is acute stress. Acute stress triggers the body’s fight or flight response. It is our body’s immediate response to new challenges, events or demands. This type of stress could be caused by a disagreement with a friend or family member or almost being in a car accident on your way to work.
Not all acute stress is viewed in a negative light. Do you remember that last time you were at an amusement park and went on a scary ride? This could have been exciting and even healthy stress. Isolated episodes of acute stress do not have any long-lasting negative health effects.
If you have been a victim of a crime or another life-threatening situation, this can lead to issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder. When someone experiences something that causes post-traumatic stress, getting assistance from an outside professional might be required to get there the awful event in a healthy manner.
There are several symptoms that can indicate acute stress including:
- Emotional problems such as anger, sadness, or irritability
- Muscular issues such as tension headaches and jaw pain
- Gastrointestinal issues which can include heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation or diarrhea
- Rapid heart rate
- Sweaty palms
- Shortness of breath
People that experience episode acute stress are often those that worry about everything or view the negative side of every situation. People may also think in a very pessimistic way. Individuals dealing with this form of stress tend to take on additional responsibilities and work they are not able to handle.
Episodic acute stress is often found in those with a type A personality. People with a type A personalities often are competitive, extremely organized, ambitious, impatient, and highly aware of time management.
There are a few physical symptoms of episodic acute stress including:
- Tension headaches
- Heart disease
We already covered what acute stress is, but when it isn’t resolved and continues increasing it can lead to another form of stress called chronic stress. Chronic stress is continuous and does not just go away on its own. Chronic stress can be caused by financial issues, overly demanding jobs, an unhappy marriage or negative relationships with family. These issues can cause extreme damage to one’s physical and mental health.
There are several health issues that can arise if chronic stress is not treated properly including heart disease, lung disease, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and even go as far as suicide.
Chronic stress has numerous symptoms involved such as:
- Weight gain or loss
- Sleep problems
- Memory and concentration issues
Stress causes so many negative effects on our mind and body, which makes not only identifying the sources of stress important but discovering stress management techniques. We are all different, so what may help one person may not offer the same benefits for another. I am going to share a few ideas but would love to know what helps you with managing stress.
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Sleeps needs to be a priority
- Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga
- Find a hobby that makes you happy and relaxed
- Spend time with people that make you happy
- Write a reflection journal or any journal can help
- Get organized
- Connect socially
- Take breaks from what you acknowledge cause you stress
- Get a massage
- Set goals
- Set boundaries
- Avoid alcohol
- Invest in “Me Time”
It is the craziest thing that I know how bad stress is for the mind and body, but yet I continue to stress about most things in life. I guess all we can do is try in life and never give up! I will say I think the amount of stress I had felt previously is more under control now, but there are still some issues that weigh very heavy on my mind. It is baby steps and someday maybe I will be completely stress-free!
Thank you for visiting my site today! I hope the information in this post was helpful and you found it beneficial! I hope you had a good week and you are looking forward to the weekend! I know things are still not ideal, but at least we are still breathing, things could always be worse. I have been getting up at an insane time this week to help my husband get to work on time, all I can say is 5 AM is way too early even for me. I plan to sleep later this weekend and then we will just hang out around the house with our precious fur babies! Whatever you have planned for the weekend, please just stay safe! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love , comfort, and many positive vibes!