There are several different types of stress, and not all stress is necessarily unhealthy. Acute stress is one of the least destructive types of stress, which is good because it is also the most common type. We experience many acute stresses throughout the day. Acute stress is a directly perceived threat, whether it is physical, emotional, or psychological.
These threats don’t need to be strong threats—they can be minor sources of stress, such as an alarm clock ringing, a new task at work, or even a phone call that needs to be answered when you relax on the couch and on your phone across the room. Acute stress can also be more severe, such as being stopped for speeding, arguing with friends or taking an exam.Threats can be real or imagined; what triggers the stress response is the perception of threats.
During an acute stress response, the autonomic nervous system is activated and the body’s levels of cortisol, adrenaline, and other hormones increase, resulting in increased heart rate, increased respiratory rate, and increased blood pressure.
The blood diverges from the limbs to the large muscles, preparing the body for battle or flight. This is also called the fight or flight response.
Acute stress is easy to control because it happens and then it ends. It will not harm the health caused by chronic stress because recovery from acute stress is possible and relatively easy-simple relaxation techniques can work quickly because your stress response will not resolve itself into a relaxation response.
However, repeated acute stress will bring greater losses. Multiple instances of different acute stressors (a series of unrelated stress events) or the repeated occurrence of the same acute stressor (repeatedly experiencing the same stress) may lead to a chronic stress state in which the body’s stress response is constantly triggered. Therefore, it is important to develop a stress management plan. The following steps can reduce the chance of making your acute stressors add up to a more significant stress level.
Eliminate stress as much as possible
Reducing the little things that repeatedly put you under stress—your tolerance—can minimize your overall stress level.You can also take other measures to minimize lifestyle stress. You can’t eliminate all stress (and you don’t want to), but you can eliminate stress when possible, which can really add up.
Learn relaxation techniques that suit you
This means finding ways to relax the body and calm the mind.You cannot always predict the stressors in your life, but you can reverse your stress response after encountering these stressors.
Develop the habit of resilience
Yes, certain habits can enhance the ability to resist stress. These include meditation, exercise, etc.Develop one (or several) of these habits can really help you manage acute and chronic stress.