Three Types of Stress
There are three types of stress: acute stress, episodic stress, and chronic stress.
- Acute Stress is the most common type of stress. It's your body's immediate reaction to an event or action that triggers your fight-or-flight reaction. It can be good by helping your body practice responding to stressful situations. The positive type of stress is called eustress.
- Episodic Acute Stress is when acute stress happens frequently. People experiencing this type of stress are often worrying, short-tempered, and anxious.
- Chronic Stress is ongoing over a long period of time. It can be caused by life's situations and is detrimental to your health.
Stress Can Be Good
Your goal is to reach an optimal level of stress, as outlined by the Yerkes-Dodson Law.
"According to what is known as “The Yerkes-Dodson law,” performance increases with physiological or mental arousal (stress) but only up to a point. When the level of stress becomes too high, performance decreases." - Harvard Business Review
Benefits of Stress
- There's value to creating physical stress to see yourself improve in your physical activity of choice.
- Stress can give you bursts of energy to help you accomplish tasks.
- It's the built-in warning system to manage the fight-or-flight response in response to danger.
- Some researchers support that stress can improve the immune system and improve how your heart works.
How to Maintain Healthy Stress Levels
Based on the law above, it's important to manage stress levels to maintain your highest levels of performance. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention offers the below guidelines for mitigating stress:
- Begin and maintain healthy eating, exercise, and sleep routines
- Talk to other people and receive the support you need
- Make social connections or seek outside help
- Remove yourself or take a break from the stressful situation
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
Learn more ways to maintain your stress here.