What are the different types of Stress?

When you hear the word Stress what does it mean to you? It’s a word I bet you use at least once a day, probably more. Now think to yourself if you were to use the words bad mental health once a day would this feels so acceptable? No thought not.

Stress is something that society has subliminally enforced us to accept by the speed and direction of modern life but does that mean we should accept it? If you could get to the bottom of your stress would it help you to shake things up and make some positive changes? If so read on…

There are many forms of stress including acute stress, episodic acute stress and chronic stress and so knowing a little more about them to work out your layers is a great place to start.


Acute stress is the most common form of stress. It comes from demands and pressures of the recent past and anticipated demands and pressures of the near future. Acute stress is thrilling and exciting in small doses and does help us to achieve short-term burn situations well, but too much is exhausting and will eventually have an effect on the physical (headaches, IBS, insomnia) emotional (overwhelmed, self-esteem, out of control)  and mental systems (anxiety, depression, feeling disconnected).  Acute Stress can affect anyone at any time it’s defined by a short-term situation that is temporary if we use effective tools to work with it.

There are those however who suffer acute stress frequently and so what does that mean?

Episodic Acute 

Those people whose lives are so disordered that they are constantly in chaos and crisis. I am sure we can all recognise this in someone we know, the situation may change but the stress is always the same. They’re always in a rush, but always late. If something can go wrong it really does, in a way that may seem a little OTT to an outsider. They take on too much and seemingly don’t know they are doing it and can’t organize the amount of self-inflicted spinning plates they have created for themselves. This is a constant spiral of behaviour which self-feeds.

There are a few ways in which this can affect us depending on the individual and so let’s break those down now. To clarify those of you who have worked with me know I am not a fan of labels unless it’s done with humour to take the power out of the situation so please excuse the obvious silly labels I have coined to explain.

  • The Scratchy One -It is common for people with acute stress to be over aroused, short-tempered, irritable, anxious and tense. Often, they describe themselves as having “a lot of nervous energy.” Always in a hurry, they tend to be abrupt, and sometimes their irritability comes across as hostility. Interpersonal relationships deteriorate rapidly when others respond with real hostility. The workplace becomes a very stressful place for them.
  • The Urgent One – Described by cardiologists-Meter Friedman and Ray Rosenman – This personality type is similar to an extreme case of episodic acute stress. They have an “excessive competitive drive, aggressiveness, impatience, and a harrying sense of time urgency.” In addition, there is a “free-floating, but well-rationalized form of hostility, and almost always a deep-seated insecurity.” Such personality characteristics would seem to create frequent episodes of acute stress for the individual. Friedman and Rosenman found these types are much more likely to develop coronary heart disease which was their interest in this group.
  • The Worry Guts-Another form of episodic acute comes from ceaseless worry. These types see disaster around every corner and pessimistically forecast catastrophe in every situation. The world is a dangerous, unrewarding, punitive place where something awful is always about to happen. These doom slayers also tend to be over aroused and tense, but are more anxious and depressed than angry and hostile and are creating their own stress through their perceptions of the world and how they see it. Often, lifestyle and personality issues are so ingrained and habitual with these individuals that they see nothing wrong with the way they conduct their lives. They blame their woes on other people and external events. Frequently, they see their lifestyle, their patterns of interacting with others, and their ways of perceiving the world as part and parcel of who and what they are.

Sufferers can be fiercely resistant to change as they can create their own secondary gains within this behaviour/perception such as attention, sympathy, manipulation, avoid responsibility of self to name a few. This type needs to want to make the changes with heart and soul to be able to motivate themselves out of this spiral- which is achievable.


While acute can be thrilling and exciting, chronic is not. This is the grinding stress that wears people away day after day, year after year. Chronic destroys bodies, minds and lives. It wreaks havoc through long-term attrition. It’s the stress of poverty, of dysfunctional families, of being trapped in an unhappy marriage or in a despised job or career. Chronic comes when a person never sees a way out of a miserable situation. It’s the stress of unrelenting demands and pressures for seemingly interminable periods of time. With no hope, the individual gives up searching for solutions.

Some chronic stresses stem from traumatic, early childhood experiences that become internalized and remain forever painful and present. Some experiences profoundly affect personality. A view of the world, or a belief system, is created that causes unending imbalance for the individual (e.g., the world is a threatening place, people will find out you are a pretender, you must be perfect at all times). The worst aspect of chronic is that people get used to it. They forget it’s there. People are immediately aware of acute stress because it is new; they ignore chronic because it is old, familiar, and sometimes, almost comfortable.

When personality or deep-rooted limiting beliefs are present these must be understood by the self-examination of that person’s individual layers of imbalance.

By understanding stress in its many forms and connecting it to behaviours and personality types we can understand the best ways to treat the individual. Using Hypnotherapy for understanding the subconscious layering of the stress, E.F.T. to find peace with the emotions associated with the stress, Reiki Healing to heal the energy body from the effects of the stress, and Future Life Progression to connect with the options for a best possible future to avoid creating more stress you can change your relationship with stress and create a more harmonic life’s balance for yourself.