Understanding the Changing Environment of Mental Stress

Learning About the Different Types of Stress


55% of Americans identified as being stressed during the day, a surging number within the national average. For most people, stress has become a part of their daily routine. We may all experience stress -- but it’s not the same for every person. There are 3 different types of stress-- acute, episodic acute, and chronic. They all affect our physical and mental wellbeing, with chronic stress is often the type that is most ignored. Here is a breakdown of the 3 types of stress and different ways to cope. 

Acute Stress: This is the type of stress that occurs in response to a particularly stressful event (not to be confused with Acute Stress Disorder). If you were to receive a call that your dog escaped from your home without a leash, you might feel acute stress. The symptoms usually develop pretty quickly but do not always last for an extended period. Common symptoms include an increased heart rate or blood pressure. One way to combat acute stress is to learn techniques such as mindfulness and breathing exercises. These practices are particularly helpful when stress is keeping you up at night. 

Episodic Acute Stress: This stress occurs when you are living in a state of tension, like when you take on too many things at once. This type of stress often causes your body to tense up constantly. Some ways to cope with episodic acute stress are exercising while you contemplate a stressful decision or going to therapy where professionals can teach you how to change your physical responses to the stressors.

Chronic Stress: This stress can be difficult to detect and can weigh people down over several years. This type of stress may come after serious life-changing events or problems, especially those that are out of one’s control. These include, but are not limited to, prejudices, poverty, and constant battles with those around you. Due to the fact that chronic stress is so constant, some people stop fighting to change the stressors and start to just learn to live with chronic stress. This can be damaging to your health. The most effective way to cope with chronic stress is to go through lifestyle changes and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The patients identify their significant stressors in therapy and then the therapist works with patients to learn how they can cope with the problem upon identification.


Stress is a part of life, but it doesn’t need to be debilitating. Recognizing the causes and the symptoms is the first step to living a lower-stress life. If you’re looking for a therapist that your insurance covers and can help you with issues you’re struggling with click here.