What is Stress?

The answer will be different for most. In the past it looked like a lion, a bear or pretty much anything that could kill you! Nowadays it looks like:-

  • Traffic
  • Clock/Watch (deadlines)
  • Financial pressure
  • Violence/assault – personally experience or witnessed
  • Conflict
  • Accidents
  • Service
  • Bullying
  • Others opinions
  • School/Study
  • Work
  • Expectations of self and others
  • T.V shows/Cartoons
  • And so on…

The result is the same, if not worse, now than it ever was because it is regularly experienced and for some, it can be constant!

Stress is generally termed into two categories; acute and chronic. However, there is a category which sits in between Acute and Chronic; Episodic Stress. Click here for more detail.

Acute stress refers to an immediate threat or danger which triggers bodily responses in dealing with the current situation. Once this immediate threat has ceased the body systems return to normal.

An example of acute stress for instance: ‘It is the morning of my job interview. I’ve hardly slept all night thinking of what I might be asked, how I might answer and will those answers be right? What if I don’t look the part? This shower feels good, I don’t want to get out, and I’m so tired! My stomach feels tight and I just simply can’t eat anything this morning. I’m so nervous. Perhaps I’ll just have a coffee on the way. If I eat anything I’m likely to bring it back up. I’m so on edge! I feel heavy, lethargic and foggy. I’ll sleep better tonight, I’m sure of it. I wonder if I’ll get the job.’ In this example, you may not typically feel ‘stressed’ depending on what ‘stress’ feels like to you as it’s a general term used. You can see by this example, however, that the anticipation of the approaching interview is mentally taxing, physically exhausting and emotionally draining – though short lived.

Episodic Stress refers to repetitive stressful episodes that pop up regularly. This is a little different to the constant nagging of Chronic Stress.

Chronic Stress refers to long-term repetitive exposure to situations resulting in constant wear and tear on the mind and body that feels like it’s never going to end!   For example, constant work pressure, loneliness, persistent financial stress. When it feels like there is no real rest or recovery between situations that are stressful to an individual.

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