Acute And Chronic Stress

Acute And Chronic Stress

Acute and Chronic Stress

Stress is a daily reality for many people. It is a natural reaction to high pressure situations and in small doses, it can also be helpful. However, constant stress can lead to physical and emotional health issues over time. Hence, it is important to handle your stress level and remain relaxed.

There are two major kinds of stress -acute stress and chronic stress. This stress clearly differentiates between the small stresses that we experience every day and the more severe stress that get accumulated when we are exposed to many stressful situations for a longer period.

If you’re a bus driver or police officer and are stuck in lots of traffic jams every day, or you’re suffering from a bad relationship that ends up in constantly arguing with your spouse, or working with a toxic boss, or living in a neighbourhood where all types of burglaries are relatively common, all such examples lead to acute stress.

Coping up With Stress

The human body is ideal at dealing with acute episodes of stress. We are designed to become better speedy from short-term stress. That’s how professionals outline resilience: How quick you get over an acute episode of pressure. Your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate and degrees of muscle anxiety can also additionally skyrocket for a short while, but – for most people, these markers of stress speedy revert to their regular (pre-stressful event) stages.

The body is not that much suitable at dealing with chronic stress. Over time, chronic stress progressively increases our resting heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate and degrees of muscle tension so the body must work even more difficult when it’s at rest to maintain you functioning normally. In other words, chronic stress creates a new normal inside your body. This new normal can sooner or later result in a host of fitness problems including heart disease, diabetes, chronic pain, high blood pressure and depression.

If you agree with the fact that your stress is chronic, try to take steps to either eliminate unnecessary pressure with problem solving, delegating, planning, and mastering a way to manipulate time better or focus on growing your coping skills. Yoga, exercise, meditation and even doing rest strategies like deep respiratory or progressive muscle relaxation allow you to cope higher with better than regular levels of stress.

Stress Is Harmful for Your Body. Be Careful

All the chemical modifications have short- and long-term outcomes on almost every system in your body:

Musculoskeletal system

Short Term: Your muscles tense up all at once and then launch when the stressor is gone.

Long Term: If your muscles are constantly tense, you may develop issues like tension headaches and migraines, in addition to different persistent pains.

Respiratory system

Short Term: You breathe harder and faster, and might even hyperventilate, that may cause panic attacks in some human beings.

Long Term: If you have asthma or emphysema, respiratory difficulty can make it tough to get enough oxygen.

Cardiovascular system

Short Term: Your heart beats harder and faster and your blood vessels dilate, pushing more blood into your large muscular tissues and elevating your blood pressure.

Long Term: Consistently elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormones can increase your odds of heart attack, stroke, and hypertension. These also can influence levels of cholesterol and cause inflammation in your circulatory system.

Endocrine system

Short Term: Stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol give your body strength to either fight or run away from a stressor. Your liver also produces greater blood sugar to provide your body strength.

Long Term: Some people don’t reabsorb the extra blood sugar that their liver pumps out, and they will be more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Overexposure to cortisol can result in thyroid issues and influence your cap potential to think clearly. It also can cause excess abdominal fat.

In men, chronic stress also can affect sperm and testosterone production, and lead to erectile dysfunction and infections in the testes, prostate, or urethra. In women, chronic stress can worsen PMS, cause modifications in the menstrual cycle, and missed periods. It also can aggravate symptoms of menopause and decrease sexual desire.

Gastrointestinal system

Short Term: You can also additionally feel butterflies in your stomach, pain, or nausea, or may even vomit. Your appetite can change, and you may have diarrhoea, constipation, or heartburn.

Long Term: Stress can lead to intense chronic ache and changes in your eating habits. You can also develop acid reflux.

What Is Acute Stress?

Acute stress is something that affects almost everyone from time to time. These are based on events and pressures of the present and the near future, being late for work or forgetting an important appointment. A little of such type of stress can come in handy, motivating you to move on and get things done. Over time, these little stresses can add up, but you can become more resistant to acute stress by managing your time better, taking care of your health, and practicing relaxation techniques.

Different people experience acute stress in different ways. If you find yourself feeling stressed more often, there are many things you can do to help yourself.

Symptoms of Acute Stress

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Poor concentration
  • Problems sleeping
  • Recurrent nightmares
  • Aggression

What Is Chronic Stress?

Chronic stress is the stress that builds up when you are exposed to a high-pressure situation for a longer period of time. Once you get into this chronic stress state of mind, it can lead to constant feelings of anxiety, depression, or other stressful symptoms.

If you think you have chronic stress, one of the best things you can do is talk to someone. This could be a trusted friend or relative, or a healthcare professional. It will help you relax and get started on the path to a stress-free lifestyle.

Symptoms of Chronic Stress

  • Depression
  • General unhappiness
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Moodiness
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Loneliness
  • Isolation

Stressful Events Can Trigger Excessive Health Issues

There is ample evidence to support the link between the onset of a major depressive episode (MDE) and previous stressful life events, especially major adverse events. Conditions of continuous stress are based on depression. Examining episodic events that have relatively discrete beginnings and ends can tell only part of the story of the stress-depression association, as stressful life events occur under current living conditions. of somebody.

For many, everyday life experiences include persistent negative environmental circumstances (chronic stress) such as poor working conditions; financial difficulties; absent, intermittent, or chronically unsatisfactory or confrontational intimate relationships with romantic partners, parents, children, or friends; persistent health problems; and other ongoing charges.

Why Do You Need to Identify the Stress in Your Life?

Failure to distinguish between the effects of acute stressful conditions versus continuing stressful conditions can hamper efforts to fully understand the mechanisms by which depression results from stressors. Many stress-depression studies using questionnaires and checklists do not clearly distinguish between acute and chronic stress. Early work using the well-validated life events and hardships program distinguishes between severe ‘ongoing difficulties’ and severe life events in their association with depression, but generally makes it ‘agent provocateurs’ operational such as the occurrence of a serious life event or an ongoing difficulty.

A large body of research has been done on the depressive effects of chronic adversity such as marital conflict, parent-child discord, chronic illness or illness of a close family member, and social disadvantage (for example, poverty, racial discrimination, neighbourhood dysfunction, motherhood alone). While such research certainly supports the idea of ​​a link between chronic stressors and distress, the focus is generally on life circumstances in a single area. Limited focus does not provide a comprehensive picture of chronic stress in many areas of a person’s life.

Relationship Between Chronic and Acute Stress

In addition, research is needed on the possible functional relationships between chronic and acute stress. For example, higher levels of chronic stress can portend higher levels of acute life events (such as a chronic health condition results in job loss or chronic marital difficulties resulting in a bitter divorce).

Reported predictors of stressors in a large community sample and found results consistent with the idea that chronic difficulties and contextual factors contribute to the onset of acute stressors. The effects of chronic and acute stress can be independent of each other; both can have an impact, while neither moderates the effects of the other. An alternative is that chronic stress increases the depressive consequences of acute life events, a form of “awareness” in which people facing high levels of chronic stress may be more likely to become depressed after an acute stressor.

Another model suggests that chronic stress reduces the effects of acute life events, a “steel” or protective effect. Many studies have found some support for the idea that higher chronic stress appears to reduce the effects of acute stress on depression, arguing that the “saturation” comes from continued adversity, so that acute adverse events have less impact.

Tips For Handling All Kinds of Chronic Related Stress

Successful management of chronic stress can vary from person to person. What can work for you may not for someone else? Here are some stress-busting tips may help you cope with stress:

Get Active

Physical activity can positively affect your mood and reduce stress. Walking is a great way to start, but if you want something more invigorating, try a heart-pumping aerobic activity like jogging, dance, or swimming. Just make sure you check with your doctor first.

Try Tai-Chi or Other Relaxation Exercises

Activities like tai-chi, yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises may take you out of your comfort zone, but they can be a worthwhile experience for many people. For example, one study among older individuals published in The Journals of Gerontology found that tai chi helped reduce participants’ stressful feelings while increasing positive emotions.

Prioritize Your Sleep

Getting enough sleep is important for many areas of your health and wellbeing, and its benefits on stress management are no different. When you sleep, your brain unpacks much of the day’s activities and stressors during the various phases of sleep, including rapid-eye-movement. These tips from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention can help train your brain to sleep longer and better for optimal health benefits.

Focus On What You Can Change

Having a sense of control can help you feel more grounded. Some things we can’t control, like the weather. Others, like planning what you have for dinner tonight, can give you a centre of gravity in an unsure time.

Give Yourself Some Grace

It’s okay if your patience slips or you’re not able to release stressful feelings as well as others. Kindness can go a long way, particularly when you’re giving it to yourself.

Avoid Self-Isolation

Surround yourself with a support network of people who care about your wellbeing, and use that network (in a safe, socially distanced way) when you need it.

When It Is the Time to Seek Assistance for Your Stress

Even with a good self-management plan, sometimes you will need more support. A mental health professional can be an asset, but it is especially important to urgently see if you are thinking of harming yourself or if you are attracted to drugs or alcohol as a mechanical solution.

Hence, Having Stress – It Can Be Cured

Well, you have stress and there is no denying to the fact that you might need to take some medical assistance. However, you do need to keep in mind that you should not be ashamed to accept that you are under stressful condition and never back down from taking or meeting a doctor.

Always keep in mind that your stress can harm you if you bottle it up. Each level of stress can physically and mentally hurt you, and at times make you more and more aggressive. Hence, as soon as you diagnose that you are suffering from acute stress, make sure to take medical help.

It is much better to live life as stress-free and enjoy the various aspects that future hold. Your life would be more meaningful and better when it is filled with enjoyment and happiness.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.

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