Types of stress and their triggers

Currently, stress is considered mental fatigue caused by performance and demands higher than what we can withstand.

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

Types of stress, their characteristics and effects

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

Concept history

In the Middle Ages, it was already used to describe a myriad of negative experiences. But it was in the 18th century that the concept spread among engineers and physicists with the aim of describing certain characteristics of solid bodies. This characteristic refers to the internal force present in a specific zone on which acts an external force which can alter this solid state, a definition which has a priori nothing to do with the current concept of constraint.

In the 1920s, the famous Dr. Hans Seyle introduced the term to health sciences to refer to our body’s overall response to a situation that causes us anxiety.

But stress does not always have to be something harmful, there is already a positive stress which helps us to cope with a task with all our strength (adaptive stress, very present in animals including humans). However, when this emotion exhausts us, in addition to having noticeable mental and physical consequences, it does not help us cope with this stressful task.

Stages of stress

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

1. Reaction alarm: Starts immediately after the threat is detected. At this point, there are some symptoms like low body temperature or increased heart rate.

2. Resistance: The body adapts to the situation but continues the activation although to a lesser extent compared to the previous step. If the stressful situation persists over time, the activation eventually succumbs as resources are consumed faster than they are generated.

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

Types of stress

There are different types of stress classified according to certain criteria. We will explain the types of stress according to their usefulness, maintenance and duration.

1. Types of stress according to your sign

1.1. positive stress

Contrary to popular belief, stress doesn’t always hurt the sufferer. This type of stress occurs when the person is under pressure, but subconsciously interprets that the effects of the situation may bring him some benefit.

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

1.2. Anxiety or negative stress

When we are in distress we anticipate a negative situation by believing that something is wrong with us, Which generates anxiety that paralyzes us completely.

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

2. Types of stress according to its duration

2.1. acute stress

This is the stress most people experience and it is because of the demands we place on ourselves or on others. These requests are fueled by the recent past or in anticipation of the near future. In small doses it can be positive, but in higher doses it can end up wearing us out, with serious consequences for our mental and physical health.

Fortunately, this type of stress does not last long, so it does not leave any damage, in addition to being easy to cure. The main signs of acute stress are:

1. Muscle pain: Headaches, backaches, and contractures, among other conditions, usually appear.

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

3. Gastric problems: Stress can cause stomach symptoms to swing a lot; 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. Acute episodic stress

It is also one of the most common types of stress treated during psychological counseling. It appears in people with unrealistic demands, both their own and those from society.

They are irritated and belligerent people, in addition to having permanent anxiety because they cannot control all the variables that are asked of them. Another symptom of people with acute episodic stress is that they are always worried about the future. When hostile, they are difficult to treat unless they see a specialist and receive treatment.

2.3. chronic stress

It is the stress that appears in prisons, wars or in situations of extreme poverty, situations in which one must be constantly on the alert. This type of stress can also come from childhood trauma. By causing great despair, it can change the beliefs and scale of values ​​of the individual who suffers from it..

Without a doubt, the type of stress is the most severe, with serious destructive consequences for the psychological health of the person who suffers from it. People who suffer from it daily they show mental and physical wear and tear that can leave lifelong consequences. The person cannot change the stressful situation, but neither can he run away, he simply cannot do anything.

The person who has this type of stress often ignores it because it takes so long with this suffering that they are already used to it. They may even like it because it is the only thing they have known and do not know or cannot handle the situation otherwise, because of this it is normal for them to reject the possibility of treatment because they feel so identified with stress that they believe it is already part of it.

  • There are studies that show the relationship between stress and illness digestive tract, cancer, skin diseases and heart problems.
  • Insecurity is often accompanied by stress and the feeling of helplessness (they always throw in the towel because they believe or really can’t do anything).
  • Stress can cause anxiety and depression.
  • suffer from anxiety increases the risk of suicide.

Risk factors for stress

They are classified into 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

  • Internal and External Locus of Control: Locus of control refers to the firm belief that events that happen to us are controlled by what we do (this is the internal locus of control) or by external causes that the individual does not. cannot modify (external locus of control). If a person suffers from an external locus of control, they are likely to suffer from stress because they think there is absolutely nothing they can do about a situation. dangerous.

  • Shyness: Some studies indicate that introverted people are more sensitive to a stressful situation and come under more pressure than very social people to shut themselves up and not face a particular situation.

  • personal influence: When we think a situation is threatening, we internalize this same pattern in our way of thinking. For this reason, in the same context, one person can react with serenity and another with stress.
  • Predisposition to anxiety: These are people exposed to a feeling of restlessness in the face of uncertainty. For this reason, they are prone to stress.

Environmental or external agents

  • The suspension of custom: When suddenly something is over, it is difficult to readjust to a new routine (which gives us a certain stability in our lives) because the psyche deploys all the resources to readjust to the new context. For example, ending a vacation.
  • The possibility of the unexpected: The alteration of certain aspects of our life generates always destabilizes us more or less (even if the change is for the better) ergo causes us stress. For example, being hired for a new job.
  • The contradiction of the conflict: It is a mental confusion that causes the disarray of our internal balance, producing chaos in our mind. The reestablishment of the order that existed before the chaos forces the person to use all the tools at his disposal, thus producing remarkable mental fatigue. For example, suffering from a serious illness.
  • Powerlessness in the face of the immutable: In this context, the person can do nothing because the circumstances exceed the resources at his disposal, for example the death of a loved one.

In conclusion …

The onset of stress can lead to serious problems in the future if it is not tackled properlyTherefore, it is necessary to seek treatment and learn practical tools to cope with it. Seeing a clinical psychologist can be essential in learning how to deal with the negative emotions and feelings associated with stress.

Bibliographical references:

  • Cano, A. (2002). The nature of stress. IV International Congress of the Spanish Society for the Study of Anxiety and Stress. Madrid: SEA.
  • Hüther, Gerald (2012). Biology of fear. Stress and feelings. Barcelona: editorial platform.
  • Wulf SAUR. (2012). Diseases associated with work. Biomedical therapy

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