Understanding Stress

Every day we are faced with frustrations, worries, uncertainty and ever increasing demands. Whether it’s your boss giving you a hard time, the kids running you ragged, or worries about your finances, stress can affect anyone at anytime and often reveals itself physically as well as mentally.

Left to its own devices, stress can become quite debilitating for some and can be the root cause of illness and disease such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stomach problems, and even asthma. Stress doesn’t simply manifest itself as a mental issue, but can grow to become something that touches a person on a physical level too.

Managing stress can often be difficult, particularly as those who suffer develop clouded judgement and a lower sense of self esteem, however, all is not lost, and the end of the world isn’t necessarily nigh.

Recognising the different elements that make you ‘stressed’ is an important factor when looking for ways to improve your tolerance levels and emotional stability. Perhaps your stress levels soared because you feel bogged down at work, you have failed at a particular task, or an outside influence has meant you no longer have control.

Accepting that stress is a normal part of life is always a good start when trying to help yourself become better prepared for the downfalls of day to day life, and while some are able to use stress as a motivator to achieve, if not handled correctly, stress can have an all encompassing negative impact on your overall health and well being.

In essence, there are three different types of stress; Acute, Chronic, and Episodic. As the name suggests, Acute Stress is temporary and is one of the most common types of stress that we are all exposed to in day to day life. Resulting in anger, frustration, headaches, palpitations, and vomiting, acute stress is caused by daily demands inflicted upon us, and those we inflict upon ourselves.

Chronic Stress is at the opposite end of the spectrum to Acute stress. Brought on by a long term exposure to stress, be it a failing relationship, severe health problems, money worries, or a traumatic experience, Chronic stress has the ability to damage a person from the inside out, resulting in potential self harm, serious illness, and even suicidal tendencies.

Sitting firmly in the middle of these two extremes is Episodic Stress. Used to describe the point where Acute Stress occurs on a frequent basis, Episodic Stress is often experienced by those who perpetually place unrealistic and unobtainable demands on themselves. These types of personalities often put themselves under too much pressure and as a result, often becoming angry and hostile when they fail to reach their highly set goals.

As you can see, stress can be both mild and contained or unrestricted and all consuming, whatever the case may be for you, preventative measures are always a good thing to have in place. Becoming aware of your individual stress triggers and developing a sense of mindfulness, techniques such as meditation can set you on a positive path to help you prepare for the inevitable and relieve the physical and emotional impact stress has on your sense of happiness and well being.