Stress is a common part of life that affects everyone, but the types of stress we encounter and how we deal with them can vary significantly. Stress Awareness Day, observed on November 1st, serves as a reminder to acknowledge the importance of recognising, addressing, and managing stress in our lives. In this blog post, we'll explore different types of stress, discuss the concept of positive and negative stress, and provide valuable UK-based resources to help you cope with stress.
Different Types of Stress and Who It Affects
Stress can manifest in various ways, and its impact isn't uniform. Here are some common types of stress and the groups it can affect:
- Work-Related Stress: The demands of a high-pressure job can lead to work-related stress. This affects individuals in the workforce, ranging from entry-level employees to top executives. Work-related stress can be triggered by tight deadlines, long working hours, or conflicts with co-workers and supervisors.
- Financial Stress: Financial troubles can lead to stress for individuals and families, regardless of their backgrounds. Economic difficulties can arise from unemployment, debt, or unexpected expenses.
- Relationship Stress: Conflicts within personal relationships can result in relationship stress, affecting couples, families, and friends. It's important to recognise that the strain on relationships can also be a significant source of stress.
- Health-Related Stress: Coping with health issues, whether it's a chronic condition or a sudden illness, can be a major stressor. This type of stress can affect people of all ages and backgrounds.
- Minority Stress: Minority stress is the strain caused by prejudice and discrimination towards an aspect of someone’s unique identity, such as skin colour, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or some other distinct quality, that the majority culture around them does not appreciate or accept. To read more about this, check out our past interview ‘Navigating Minority Stress & Healing with Nick Kientsch’, where Nick introduces us to this term.
The Difference Between Positive and Negative Stress
Stress is a concept often discussed in a positive light. It includes facing new challenges at work or deliberately subjecting the body to controlled stressors like intermittent fasting or cold exposure. Stress, in and of itself, is not necessarily harmful; when it's beneficial, it's commonly referred to as 'eustress.' Eustress is the type of stress that provides motivation and energy. It can propel us to meet deadlines, excel in competitions, or respond effectively to emergencies.
However, when stress becomes excessive or prolonged, it can transition into negative stress, known as "distress." Distress can take a toll on our physical and mental well-being, leading to symptoms like anxiety, depression, and physical health problems.
Sometimes negative stress can also be dismissed under the guise of it being motivating. Recognising when stress has turned negative is essential for managing it effectively. Some common signs of distress include sleep disturbances, irritability, chronic fatigue, and changes in appetite. If you notice these signs, it's crucial to take action to address your stress levels.
Resources to Help
Managing stress can be challenging, but there are numerous UK-based resources available to support individuals dealing with stress. Here are some links to free resources and charities that can help this Stress Awareness Day:
- Mind: Mind is a mental health charity in the UK that offers support and information on a wide range of mental health issues, including stress.
- NHS Every Mind Matters: The NHS provides a comprehensive guide to mental health and well-being, offering practical tips and resources to manage stress.
- Crisis Text Line (UK): If you're in a crisis and need someone to talk to in the UK, you can text "SHOUT" to 85258 for free, 24/7 support.
- Meditation and Relaxation Apps: Apps like Calm, Headspace, and Insight Timer offer free guided meditation and relaxation exercises to help manage stress.
- Local Support Groups: Many communities in the UK have local support groups that provide resources and counselling for stress management. Check with your local community centre or mental health organisations to find groups near you.
- Online Articles and Guides: Numerous websites offer free articles, guides, and tools to help you understand and manage stress effectively.
On this Stress Awareness Day, let's prioritise our well-being by acknowledging the different types of stress we face, recognising the transition from positive to negative stress, and utilising resources to better cope with life's challenges. By supporting one another and seeking help when needed, we can promote a healthier, stress-resilient society.