9 types of stress
According to global statistics, in the population between 18 and 65 years old, 9 out of 10 people say they have experienced stress in the last year With And of these, almost half (approximately 42%) indicate that stress episodes are frequent over time. Unfortunately, we live in a stressful society.
Human beings have created civilizations with demands, schedules of life and a constant avalanche of information that is far from what nature had designed for us. We are not biologically adapted to the society we have built. And our body pays for the consequences.
The consequences are expressed, among many others, by a stress pandemic that social classes do not understand. This feeling of physical and / or emotional tension that arises in situations that we perceive as threats can end up weakening us on all levels and greatly damaging our quality of life.
But is stress always the same? Jo. No less. It is a concept that hides many different nuances and that, in reality, can be expressed in very different ways and in the face of very different causes. And in today’s article, from the hand of our team of psychologists, we will see what kind of stress exists and what are their main characteristics .
What is stress?
Stress is the group of physiological reactions that are activated when we experience an event that we perceive as a threat or a request beyond our means and that lead to a state of physical and / or emotional tension.
Stress, in its proper measure, is by no means a bad thing. In fact, it is an absolutely necessary reaction for our survival, as it helps us stimulate ourselves in the face of stimuli that can pose a risk. Stress is the brain’s way of increasing the chances that we will react quickly and accurately to a potential threat.
When the central nervous system processes a situation as a risk, it stimulates the synthesis of adrenaline (in addition to the hormone cortisol), a neurotransmitter that activates the body’s survival mechanisms , speeds up the heartbeat, dilates the baby, inhibits non-essential physiological functions (such as digestion). ), increase the rhythm of respiration, accelerate the pulse and increase the sensitivity of our senses.
All of these neurotransmitter and hormone-mediated responses, along with the fact that the brain focuses its attention on the threat, help us anticipate our responses and increase the likelihood that they will be as effective as possible.
As we can see, at the biological level, stress is not a bad thing. It is a state of tension that, although associated with negative feelings, allows us to increase our guarantees of success. The problem is that in humans, this stress can become chronic. In something that not only arises because of real threats, but is always there or appears because of events that are not a real danger.
Pathological stress weakens and exhausts us physically and mentally and can even open the door to various diseases Therefore, we must take measures to reduce it and, if we are unable to treat it, seek psychological attention. Stress can (and should) be fought.
- We recommend that you read: “12 types of neurotransmitters (and what functions they perform)”
How is stress classified?
Now that we understand what stress is, we are ready to see what types exist. As we have seen, stress, in itself, is not negative. Therefore, we will see how it is classified according to this parameter and many others. These are the main types of stress that people can experience.
1. Positive stress
As we have already discussed, stress is not always a negative thing. And with positive stress we understand those physiological stress-related reactions, but that make us more motivated and energetic. Many times, a stress checkpoint is very good for us to give the maximum of ourselves .
As long as we are in control of the situation and stress does not dominate us, it can be positive. Although the situation itself is threatening and frightening, this degree of stress will give us the extra attention we need.
2. Negative stress
Negative stress is what we generally associate with the concept of “stress”. Also known as anxiety, negative stress is not related to positive feelings of motivation and energy, but to the feeling that something will go wrong. Stress is the stress of winning the game and curbing our skills.
This leads us to anticipate a threat believing that the outcome will be negative for us, so anxiety begins to take over , unbalances us, neutralizes our abilities, generates negative emotions of sadness and anger, and, ultimately, reduces the chances that we get out of this situation successfully.
3. Acute stress
Acute stress is one that 9 out of 10 people experience at least once a year. , Is, as its name suggests, a specific situation in which, for various reasons, we experience a momentary episode of stress. Stress is a short-term stress that also disappears quickly .
Being positive or negative, acute stress can arise moments before a job interview or an important exam, before you go out to play a football game, when we are fighting with our partner, when we think they are following us on the street, etc. The causes are very different, but there is no underlying disorder, as this acute stress is a normal reaction of the body.
4. Acute episodic stress
A variant of the previous one, but which already implies a stress problem that needs to be addressed. Acute episodic stress is one that, being typical of people who, due to their pressure and / or society, they live with unrealistic demands, manifests itself in more or less recurrent episodes of acute stress .
That is, it is a situation in which episodes of acute stress occur repeatedly with greater or lesser frequency, causing the person to have to live in a constant state of anxiety manifested by pessimism, irritability , negativity, headaches, high blood pressure, chest pressure, nervousness … Requires treatment in the hands of a psychologist, as this form of stress is always negative and without treating it, can end up compromising physical health and emotional on many levels.
5. Chronic stress
The most serious form of stress With chronic stress is one that is not characterized by the recurrence of episodes of acute stress, but rather that the person lives immersed in a state of constant stress from which they can not get out. When the state of stress persists for weeks or months, we talk about chronic stress. However, its causes are usually extreme situations: wars, kidnappings, imprisonment, extreme poverty …
It is a form of stress that, associated with maximum hopelessness, is the most devastating of all, leaving physical and emotional consequences, the effects of which last a lifetime. In fact, it is clearly associated with depression, increased risk of suicide, extreme insecurity, digestion, skin and heart disease, and even cancer.
6. Physical stress
We tend to think about the more psychological side of stress. And although it really is what most adhere to the definition, stress can be purely physical. Physical stress is the group of physiological changes that are produced organically by the influence of mechanical or chemical stimuli With So we are talking about injuries and their symptoms.
Trauma, cold, bone fractures, fatigue, hormonal imbalance, infections, surgeries, dehydration, substance abuse, lack of oxygen, environmental pollution … There are many causes that can leave our body in a state of physical stress without that component anxiety Me
7. Psychological stress
Psychological stress is the best known and it is related to emotional and cognitive reactions related to stress . They are all those unpleasant reactions that we experience on a psychological level when we perceive a threat and that, as we have seen, can be positive (if they help us) or negative (if they hinder us).
Fear, frustration, sadness, anger, guilt, over-information, hectic pace of life, envy, self-criticism, anxiety, panic attacks, societal demands … There are many causes that can lead to this psychological stress.
8. Psychosocial stress
Psychosocial stress is a form of psychological stress that arises from more or less serious problems regarding our personal relationships. Its causes are not found in ourselves, but in the relationships we have and, therefore, can be more difficult to treat than it merely psychological.
Being unemployed, losing a loved one, going through a love affair or divorce, feeling lonely, having problems with family or friends … There are many causes that can cause this stress related to our aspect most social.
9. Psycho-spiritual stress
Finally, psycho-spiritual stress is one that is experienced in moments of existential crisis , to doubt one’s own values, to find no way in life, to have difficulty finding happiness and, ultimately, the circumstances associated with the most concept. spirituality of our psychology.