We all experience stress within our daily lives. Stress in inevitable. However, the state of our health directly depends on our ability to handle stress. In this post you will find information on the different types of stress. We believe understanding the types of stress can help us know that we are in fact stressed without knowing it. Awareness is the first step.
The key is understanding that there are different types of stress and then different types of stressors. Stressors are what causes stress and stress itself if the bodies reaction to those stressors. Let’s first dive into the types of stress then later in this article we will dive into the 4 different types of stressors.
Good Stress & Bad Stress
Yes, there is such a thing as good stress. Positive stress (eustress) is what we experience states of stress combined with a positive emotion.
- Working in a job you love and are passionate about
- Working towards a goal
- Stressed felt before a big event such as, marriage, sports game, performance, etc.
- Birth of a baby
Positive stress is important in order for us to fill feelings of fulfillment and to achieve our goals. The thing to know about positive stress is that it is always associated with a positive feeling and outcome.
On the other hand we have bad stress. This stress is classified as a state of stress that is either acute (short term) or chronic stress (continued over 21 days). Bad stress is can be caused by any of the 4 different types of stressors (found below). The thing to note about either “good” or “bad” stress is that our bodies do not know the difference. The biochemical process that is used to release cortisol and respond to the stress is the same. Thus, this means that too much ‘good’ stress could wind up being a bad thing.
When something stressful happens, the body has a system in place that works to keep you safe in the face of potential danger. This process is regulated by parts of the brain, particularly the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, and with hormones such as cortisol. This response is triggered in times of both good and bad stress. The key here is to keep the stress response short and allow the body to heal from the short stage of stress. When we have chronic stress our bodies are not able to move into a rest and repair state. If this stress continues over time we can then experience things such as,
- Feeling exhausted or fatigued
- Feeling anxiety or tension
- Having trouble concentrating
- Getting sick
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome
- Mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety
- Sleep problems, such as insomnia
- Increased susceptibility to infections
- Skin conditions, such as acne or eczema
- Menstrual problems
And so much more. When we stress out our bodies lose key minerals in order to get into the ‘fight or flight’ response. If we cannot recover from the stress our bodies will continue to lose key minerals thus leading to nutrient and mineral imbalances and deficiencies. Which can be found as the root cause of all the symptoms listed above.
4 Types of Stressors
Now that we’ve got an idea about good stress, bad stress, acute stress and chronic stress let’s take a look at the 5 different types of stressors that you could be experiecning.
#1 Emotional Stressors
Emotional stressors are the types of stress that we all face but tend to suppress what we feel instead of letting it move through us. Think back to when we were young children, we cried when we were hurt or sad, we expressed anger when we were mad, and our happiness and excitement was always expressed. Children are deeply touched with their emotions and usually have no issues expressing them until we are told not to. When we grow up our parental figures will usually start to ‘correct’ or ignore our emotional expressions. This is where we start to learn that avoid and repress what we are feeling. Over time these repressed emotions start to build up and cause chronic stress on our bodies leading to mental health issues. Emotional stressors are associated with experiences that created feelings of, loss, grief, unworthiness, betrayal, fear, etc.
Some examples of emotional stressors are:
- Loss of a loved one
- Trauma (emotional or physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, etc)
- Not getting the promotion or job
- Loss of job
- Feeling lack of purpose
#2 Physical Stressors
These stressors are pretty straight forward as they deal with anything to do with stress on the physical body.
Some examples of physical stressors are:
- Bones breaking
- Head injuries
- Chronic Illnesses
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Over exercising
- Lack of proper nutrition
- Poor sleep
#3 Environmental Stressors
Environmental stressors are things that are found in our environments. Such as, homes, offices, cars, etc. These types of stressors can have a domino effect on our health and mentality.
Some types of environmental stressors:
- Mold / water damaged buildings
- Blue Light
- Noise & Temperature
- Lack of nature
- Surrounded by toxic people
#4 Chemical Stressors
Chemical stressors are chemicals and toxins found within our water, food, beauty products, household items, cookware, etc. These chemicals affect our biochemistry and can lead to illness.
Some examples of chemical stressors:
- Endocrine disruptors
- Heavy metals
- Food dyes
- BPA and plastics
Now that you have a good idea about the different types of stressors it’s time to do a round up of your emotional stress, physical stress, environment, and chemicals you use everyday. Handling our stress is the most important thing we can do in today’s age. We are continuously bombarded by information, fear, and chemicals that can trigger stress for us. The key is to remember to keep our stress responses short. Try incorporating breathwork, therapy, yoga, exercise, nature time, or whatever helps you relax. In order for our bodies to heal from stress we need to be in a resting and relaxing state. Try to practice getting into this state of being multiple times throughout the day.