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Health, Stress, Stress and health

Types of stress

There are three types of stress:

  • Acute stress
  • Episodic acute stress
  • Chronic stress

Each type of stress will require different approaches.

Acute stress is familiar to most of us. It’s the type of stress most people think of when they say stress. Deadlines, a fight, the thrill of sky-diving, an exam, changes in lives, jobs, environment and so on.

Some acute stress is actually beneficial to performance and our lives, and can become almost addictive to some. Think of sky-divers, climbers, off piste skiing, racing and so on. A bit of stress aids us perform better and helps us focus on the task ahead.

While stress can be intense and overwhelming at times, it is a shorter period of stress which usually is fairly easy to deal with and manage. Most people can easily recognize what causes the acute stress and the problems are usually easy to deal with.

The symptoms of acute stress include things like:

  • Emotional reactions, anger, irritation, depression, anxiety.
  • Muscular tensions, headaches, backache and like symptoms.
  • Bowel and digestion issues, heartburn, acid stomach, constipation and diarrhoea.

Episodic acute stress is the stress that keeps returning. People who are constantly full of nervous energy, always late, always busy, having a crisis or another all the time, most likely suffer from chronic stress.

They have too much going on in their lives, it’s chaotic and disordered. Things that can go wrong will go wrong and they lack an ability to organize and manage all the tasks and obligations they’ve undertaken.

Another source of this stress type is a constant worry, emotional insecurities and concerns. They are the people who always see things in a negative light, who always expect the worst to happen and fail to see the positives in a situation or even believe in positive outcomes.

The symptoms of this is more chronic pains and problems, such as never ending migraine, constant muscle tension, heart trouble and so on.

Often people suffering from episodic acute stress have become so ingrained in their lifestyle that they don’t think more over it or can imagine living in any other manner. Often professional help and a change of lifestyle and perception is needed in order to deal with this stress form.

Chronic stress is a much more subtle and invisible stress. Most often people don’t even realize or remember that they suffer from this stress. Chronic stress is caused by long term tension and unbalances such as childhood trauma, dysfunctional families, unemployment and lack of money, a bad job and other things from the past that hasn’t been dealt with yet.

Often those suffering from chronic stress have given up hope that their situation can change and settle to a passive acceptance of how their lives and circumstances are. Often the outcome of chronic stress are things like suicide, violence, heart attack and stroke. People wear down until that final breakdown.

Both consistent stress management and professional help is often needed in order to deal with this type of stress. It’s a fundamental change og behaviour and mentality which is needed, not to mention dealing with the emotional wounds and scars which the stress has caused.

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About Pia Poulsen

Pia Poulsen is educated as a wellness massage therapist at Institut FIGARI in Paris, from where she passed her certification exam in January 2008. Since then she has expanded her skills to become the first Advanced LaStone® practitioner in France as well as a certified LaStone® instructor.


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