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Types of stress and their triggers

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Currently, stress is considered to be  mental fatigue caused by performance and demands that are superior to those we can withstand.
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It usually causes various pathologies, both physical and mental. From Psychology and Mind we want to address the different types of stress and the causal agents that cause it.

Types of stress, its characteristics and effects

Stress is a reaction that can cause serious health problems . It has been shown that various chronic conditions, psychosomatic disorders and mental health (heart problems, anxiety , depression , etc.) are closely related to stress. Although the term stress seems very modern, the etymological origin of the word is very old.

History of the concept

In the Middle Ages it was already used to describe endless negative experiences. But it is in the eighteenth century when the concept extends between engineers and physicists with the aim of describing certain characteristics of solid bodies. This characteristic refers to the internal force present in a specific area on which an external force acts that can alter that solid state, a definition that a priori has nothing to do with the current concept of stress.

In the 1920s, the renowned doctor Hans Seyle introduced the term in the health sciences to refer to a global response of our body to a situation that generates anguish.

But stress does not always have to be something harmful, because there is positive stress that is what helps us to face a task with all our strength (an adaptive stress, very present in animals including humans). However, when that emotion exhausts us, apart from having remarkable psychic and physical consequences, it  does not help us face that stressful task .

The stages of stress

In 1956, Seyle theorized that  the stress response consists of three distinct phases :

1. Reaction alarm : Starts right after the threat is detected. In this phase there are some symptoms such as low body temperature or an increase in heart rate.

2. Resistance : The organism adapts to the situation but activation continues although to a lesser extent with respect to the previous stage. If the stressful situation is maintained over time, the activation ends up succumbing because resources are consumed at a faster rate than they are generated.

3. Exhaustion : The body ends up depleting resources and gradually loses the adaptive capacity of the previous phase.

Types of stress

There are classified different types of stress based on certain criteria . We will explain the types of stress depending on the utility they have, their maintenance and duration.

1. Types of stress based on your sign

1.1. Positive stress

Contrary to what people believe, stress does not always hurt the person who suffers. This type of stress arises when the person is under pressure, but unconsciously interprets that the effects of the situation may give him or her some benefit.

This stress makes the affected person is motivated and with much more energy , a good example would be a sports competition where participants must have a point of vitality to be victorious. This stress is associated with positive emotions, such as happiness.

1.2. Distress or negative stress

When we suffer distress we anticipate a negative situation believing that something will go wrong , which generates an anxiety that paralyzes us completely.

Negative stress unbalances and neutralizes the resources that in normal situations we would have at our disposal, which ends up generating sadness , anger , etc.

2. Types of stress based on their duration

2.1. Acute stress

It is the stress that more people experience and is the cause of the demands that we impose on ourselves or others . These demands are fed with respect to a recent past, or anticipations of the near future. In small doses it can be positive but in higher doses it can end up exhausting us, with severe consequences in our mental and physical health.

Luckily this type of stress does not last long so it does not leave sequels, apart from being easy to cure. The main signs of acute stress are:

1. Muscle aches : They usually appear headaches, back and contractures among other conditions.

2. Negative emotions : Depression, anxiety, fear , frustration , etc.

3. Gastric problems : Stress can cause a large oscillation in stomach symptoms; constipation, heartburn, diarrhea, abdominal pain, etc.

4. Overexcitation of the nervous system: causes symptoms such as increased blood pressure, tachycardia, palpitations, nausea, excessive sweating and migraine attacks.

2.2. Episodic acute stress

It is also one of the types of stress most treated in psychological consultations. Appears in people with unreal demands, both their own and from society .

They are people who are irritated and belligerent, apart from having permanent anguish because they can not control all the variables that are required of them. Another symptom of people experiencing acute episodic stress is that they are always worried about the future. When they are hostile they are difficult to treat unless they go to a specialist and receive treatment.

Currently, stress is considered to be  mental fatigue caused by performance and demands that are superior to those we can withstand .

It usually causes various pathologies, both physical and mental. From Psychology and Mind we want to address the different types of stress and the causal agents that cause it.

Types of stress, its characteristics and effects

Stress is a reaction that can cause serious health problems . It has been shown that various chronic conditions, psychosomatic disorders and mental health (heart problems, anxiety , depression , etc.) are closely related to stress. Although the term stress seems very modern, the etymological origin of the word is very old.

History of the concept

In the Middle Ages it was already used to describe endless negative experiences. But it is in the eighteenth century when the concept extends between engineers and physicists with the aim of describing certain characteristics of solid bodies. This characteristic refers to the internal force present in a specific area on which an external force acts that can alter that solid state, a definition that a priori has nothing to do with the current concept of stress.

In the 1920s, the renowned doctor Hans Seyle introduced the term in the health sciences to refer to a global response of our body to a situation that generates anguish.

But stress does not always have to be something harmful, because there is positive stress that is what helps us to face a task with all our strength (an adaptive stress, very present in animals including humans). However, when that emotion exhausts us, apart from having remarkable psychic and physical consequences, it  does not help us face that stressful task .

The stages of stress

In 1956, Seyle theorized that  the stress response consists of three distinct phases :

1. Reaction alarm : Starts right after the threat is detected. In this phase there are some symptoms such as low body temperature or an increase in heart rate.

2. Resistance : The organism adapts to the situation but activation continues although to a lesser extent with respect to the previous stage. If the stressful situation is maintained over time, the activation ends up succumbing because resources are consumed at a faster rate than they are generated.

3. Exhaustion : The body ends up depleting resources and gradually loses the adaptive capacity of the previous phase.

Types of stress

There are classified different types of stress based on certain criteria . We will explain the types of stress depending on the utility they have, their maintenance and duration.

1. Types of stress based on your sign

1.1. Positive stress

Contrary to what people believe, stress does not always hurt the person who suffers. This type of stress arises when the person is under pressure, but unconsciously interprets that the effects of the situation may give him or her some benefit.

This stress makes the affected person is motivated and with much more energy , a good example would be a sports competition where participants must have a point of vitality to be victorious. This stress is associated with positive emotions, such as happiness.

1.2. Distress or negative stress

When we suffer distress we anticipate a negative situation believing that something will go wrong , which generates an anxiety that paralyzes us completely.

Negative stress unbalances and neutralizes the resources that in normal situations we would have at our disposal, which ends up generating sadness , anger , etc.

2. Types of stress based on their duration

2.1. Acute stress

It is the stress that more people experience and is the cause of the demands that we impose on ourselves or others . These demands are fed with respect to a recent past, or anticipations of the near future. In small doses it can be positive but in higher doses it can end up exhausting us, with severe consequences in our mental and physical health.

Luckily this type of stress does not last long so it does not leave sequels, apart from being easy to cure. The main signs of acute stress are:

1. Muscle aches : They usually appear headaches, back and contractures among other conditions.

2. Negative emotions : Depression, anxiety, fear , frustration , etc.

3. Gastric problems : Stress can cause a large oscillation in stomach symptoms; constipation, heartburn, diarrhea, abdominal pain, etc.

4. Overexcitation of the nervous system: causes symptoms such as increased blood pressure, tachycardia, palpitations, nausea, excessive sweating and migraine attacks.

2.2. Episodic acute stress

It is also one of the types of stress most treated in psychological consultations. Appears in people with unreal demands, both their own and from society .

They are people who are irritated and belligerent, apart from having permanent anguish because they can not control all the variables that are required of them. Another symptom of people experiencing acute episodic stress is that they are always worried about the future. When they are hostile they are difficult to treat unless they go to a specialist and receive treatment.

2.3. Chronic stress

It is the stress that appears in prisons, wars or situations of extreme poverty, situations in which we must be continuously on alert. This kind of stress can also come from a trauma experienced in childhood. TO cause great despair, can change the beliefs and the scale of values ​​of the individual who suffers .

Undoubtedly, the type of stress is the most serious, with severe destructive results for the psychological health of the person suffering from it. The people who suffer it daily mental and physical wear and tear that can leave sequels throughout their lives . The person can not change the stressful situation, but neither can he flee, he simply can not do anything.

The person who has this type of stress is often not aware of it, because he has been so used to suffering for so long. They may even like it since it is the only thing they have known and do not know or can not cope with the situation in another way, because of this it is normal to reject the possibility of treatment because they feel so identified with the stress that They believe that he is already part of them.

  • There are studies that show the relationship between stress with diseases of the digestive system, cancer, skin diseases and heart problems.
  • With stress often appears insecurityand the feeling of helplessness(always throw in the towel since they believe, or really can not, do anything).
  • Stress can produce anxiety and depression .
  • Having anxiety increases the risk of suicide.

Risk factors of stress

They are classified as psychological causes or environmental causes . Although, in reality, stress usually arises from both factors at the same time, combined to a greater or lesser degree.

Psychological or internal agents

  • Locus of internal and external control: The locus of control refers to the firm opinion that the events that occur to us are controlled by what we do (is the locus of internal control) or by external causes that the individual can not modify (locus of external control). If a person suffers from an external locus of control, he will probably suffer stress because he believes that he can do absolutely nothing in the face of a dangerous situation.
  • Shyness : Some studies indicate that introverted people are more sensitive to a stressful situation and suffer more pressure than highly sociable people to lock themselves in and not cope with a given situation.
  • Self-Influence : When we believe that a situation is threatening we internalize that same pattern in our way of thinking. Therefore, in the same context a person can react serenely and another with stress.
  • Predisposition to anxiety : They are people exposed to feeling uneasy in the face of uncertainty. Because of this they are inclined to suffer stress.

Environmental or external agents

  • The suspension of the habit : When suddenly something ends it is complicated to return to adapt to a new routine (which is what gives us some stability in our lives) because the psyche deploys all the resources to return to adapt to the new context. For example, end a vacation.
  • The eventuality of the unexpected : The alteration of some aspect of our life always generates us destabilizes to a lesser or greater extent (although the change is for the better) ergo causes us stress. For example, being hired in a new job.
  • The contradiction of the conflict : It is a mental confusion that produces that our internal balance goes to the bottom, producing a chaos in our mind. Re-establishing the order that existed prior to the chaos requires that the person uses all the tools available to him, producing in this way a remarkable mental fatigue. For example, suffer a serious illness.
  • The helplessness before the immovable : In this context the person can not do anything since the circumstances surpass the resources available to the person .. For example, the death of a relative.

In conclusion…

The onset of stress can cause serious problems in the future if not fought properly , so it is necessary to seek treatment and learn practical tools to deal with it. Going to a clinical psychologist can be key to learning to manage the emotions and negative feelings associated with stress.

Bibliographic references:

  • Cano, A. (2002). The Nature of Stress IV International Congress of the Spanish Society for the study of Anxiety and Stress. Madrid: SEAS.
  • Hüther, Gerald (2012). Biology of fear. Stress and feelings Barcelona: Editorial Platform.
  • Wulf SAur. (2012). Diseases associated with the workplace. Biomedical Therapy
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