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The 4 Different Types of Stress & How to Manage Them

Stress is an unfortunate part of everyday life for many people.

It can be so debilitating that it drives people to desperately seek relief forms, whether in the form of alcohol, drugs - both legal and illegal - over-eating, or releasing their stress in other unhealthy ways such as exploding emotionally, which can cause terrible strain in their relationships.

Stress is the mind and body’s way of telling us that it is under too much pressure.

We are mentally and physically equipped to deal with only so much. When we exceed that limit, the body’s response is to send off stress signals. Physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and tears are common, while emotions such as anger, despair, and rage often follow.

This is why it is so important to deal with our stress when it rears its head.

Many people try to bury their stress and tell themselves to keep pushing through or seek other forms of escapism, but this inflames the problem because the stress isn’t being dealt with effectively.

4 Different Types of Stress

There are many different types of stress, but here are some of the most common ones:

1. Time Stress

Time stress is common for workers who are worried there is not enough time in the day. This stress happens when there is an overload of time pressure to get things done, and the clock is ticking.

2. Psychological Stress

Psychological stress occurs when something happens to trigger a negative emotion that spirals out of control. An example would be a woman who struggles with romantic jealousy.

She and her partner are strolling outside when an attractive woman walks past. Immediately, the stress is triggered, and the woman clams up. She may experience an array of symptoms, such as blood running cold or immediate rage.

Just the sight of the woman was enough to trigger the psychological stress.

3. Anticipatory Stress

Anticipatory stress is when someone experiences stress because they are unprepared for something. There may have been a sudden change in plans, or the outcome may be very uncertain.

Not knowing what will happen is the trigger for this stress.

4. Encounter Stress

Encounter stress generally involves dealing with other people, which can be especially difficult for those who are very shy or who lack self-confidence. An example would be someone who works in customer service who has to deal with an angry customer.

There may be emotions of fear and extreme discomfort attached.

Make sure to read: How to Recognize Stress & Simple Ways to Deal With It

How to Deal With Different Types of Stress

Stress is a natural response to overload, but it doesn’t mean it has to be negative just because we experience it.

Remember, your body does not want to hurt you. Stress signals are a warning, not an attack on you. The problem is that the negative emotions and symptoms that arise can then further overwhelm us.

We may not be able to control the stress signals themselves, but we can find ways to prevent it and also manage the symptoms when they arrive.

Below are ways to deal with the four different types of stress.

How to Manage Time Stress

  • Improve your time management skills. Often, time stress happens because time management is not being effectively utilized. Keep a diary or sticky notes to remind you throughout the day. Take time to plan out how much time each task with take you and then compare it with the actual time it took afterward. Trying and testing is a great way to brush up on your time management skills.
  • Be realistic. Time management stress often occurs because a person has overestimated themselves. How much can you really handle? Ask yourself this and then answer honestly. Life will be easier and less stressful if you take on the amount you can do, not the amount you can’t.

How to Manage Psychological Stress

  • Speak to a counselor, trusted friend, or partner. It is important to find out the trigger of your psychological stress. If a word or situation causes you to feel an emotion or have thoughts that cause you a great deal of distress, then there is an underlying issue that is not being addressed, and this is likely stemming from something traumatic in your past that has not been dealt with. Hence, it is important to have enough compassion for yourself to help yourself heal.
  • Write down your feelings. It is good to keep a diary and write down what happens when this stress is triggered. You will see patterns in your behavior, which gives you more of an outsider’s perspective.

How to Manage Anticipatory Stress

  • Try engaging in meditation. Meditation and breathing exercises are excellent for anticipatory stress because this is stress triggered by the “what ifs,” and it points towards a mind that is struggling with unruly thoughts. Meditation can help calm your thoughts, so take at least ten minutes of the day to center and balance yourself.
  • Think about using positive affirmations. Repeating to yourself, “Everything will be fine” or “I will be confident and successful” are good ways to remind your mind that stress doesn’t have to be the outcome here! Anticipatory stress is very much about having a soothing conversation with yourself and not allowing the fear of what could go wrong to get the better of you.

Make sure to try: A Guided Meditation to Relieve Stress & Tension

How to Manage Encounter Stress

  • Build your self-confidence. Building your self-confidence helps you deal with encounter stress because you can effectively deal with other people without worrying. Take self-confidence courses or practice with a friend and imagine you are roleplaying a situation where you are dealing with someone you don’t know.
  • Don’t take things personally. It can be hard not to take things personally, especially if you are very sensitive, but remember that when people take their anger out on you, it is usually not you that they are angry with, especially if they do not know you.

You Got This!

Though stress happens to all of us, we do not all have to yield to the negative energy that it brings.

We have to keep reminding ourselves that stress is a warning. It is not designed to bring us down and prevent us from achieving what we want to achieve.

We have the capability to master ourselves and take control of negative emotions and stressful situations. Our mind can be an unruly thing, but it is also one of the greatest weapons we possess, for we can use our mind to control our mind, which is quite extraordinary.

The next time you experience these types of stress, or any stress, try the action methods above. Remember to be consistent and, above all, do not be too hard on yourself!

Related article: 6 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress on the Spot

Sarah Brownlee

Sarah Brownlee

Having worked as a teacher, a bartender, and even a private investigator, writing was something Sarah Brownlee just fell into, even though it had been her passion since she was a little girl. To date, she has written and published 3 Children and Young Adult fiction novels, ghostwritten for others, and... Read More

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