In this modern and fast-paced world we live in, stress is a phenomenon that affects all of us. Not all stress is bad; in fact, it is a normal response to events that occur in our lives. However, certain types of stress do result in negative impacts on our bodies and mind e.g. too much stress over a prolonged period of time. Why are these types of stress so harmful to our health and how can we better manage it?
What is Stress?
Emotional Aspect of Stress
Stress is a highly subjective phenomenon but is generally defined as “a feeling that people have when they are overloaded and struggling to cope with demands” (Medical News Today, American Institute of Stress). The stress level that people experience from the same event varies because it is a subjective emotion after all, and people have differing thresholds and boundaries.
Physical Aspect of Stress
There is a physical component to stress as well. Stress triggers the fight or flight response innate in humans; when exposed to stressors, our bodies produce “larger quantities of the chemicals cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine”, which leads to increased heart rate, sweating, etc. (Medical News Today). Stress has proved to be necessary for survival because this fight or flight response allows us to respond in time towards threats.
Types of Stress
1. Acute Stress
Acute stress is the most common type of stress that is experienced and is our body’s short-term response to a new event or challenge e.g. worrying over an upcoming deadline. Such stress does not necessarily negatively impact our bodies and might actually be healthy (Healthline).
2. Episodic Acute Stress
Episodic acute stress refers to frequent bouts of acute stress, and people who experience this are more exposed to negative health effects (Medical News Today).
3. Chronic Stress
Chronic stress re