Different types of Stress

Stress has often been misunderstood to be negative, with few people acknowledging the importance and usefulness of positive stress. In our everyday lives, stress is everywhere and definitely unavoidable; hence our emphasis should be on differentiating between what is good stress, and what is bad. This will help us to learn to cope with negative stress, and harness the power of positive stress to help us achieve more.

Read: What is Stress?

There are 4 main categories of stress, namely eustress, distress, hyper stress and hypo stress. Negative stress can cause many physical and psychological problems, whilst positive stress can be very helpful for us. Here’s how we differentiate between them.


this is a positive form of stress, which prepares your mind and body for the imminent challenges that it has perceived. Eustress is a natural physical reaction by your body which increases blood flow to your muscles, resulting in a higher heart rate. Athletes before a competition or perhaps a manager before a major presentation would do well with eustress, allowing them to derive the inspiration and strength that is needed.


We are familiar with this word, and know that it is a negative form of stress. This occurs when the mind and body is unable to cope with changes, and usually occurs when there are deviations from the norm. They can be categorized into acute stress and chronic stress. Acute stress is intense, but does not last for long. On the other hand, chronic stress persists over a long period of time.  Trigger events for distress can be a change in job scope or routine that the person is unable to handle or cope with.

Hyper stress:

This is another form of negative stress that occurs when the individual is unable to cope with the workload. Examples include highly stressful jobs, which require longer working hours than the individual can handle. If you suspect that you are suffering from hyper stress, you are likely to have sudden emotional breakdowns over insignificant issues, the proverbial straws that broke the camel’s back. It is important for you to recognize that your body needs a break, or you may end up with severe and chronic physical and psychological reactions.

Hypo stress:

Lastly, hypo stress occurs when a person has nothing to do with his time and feels constantly bored and unmotivated. This is due to an insufficient amount of stress; hence some stress is inevitable and helpful to us. Companies should avoid having workers who experience hypo stress as this will cause productivity and mindfulness to fall. If the job scope is boring and repetitive, it would be a good idea to implement some form of job rotation so that there is always something new to learn.

The types of stress are named as eustress and distress.  Distress is the most commonly-referred to type of stress, having negative implications, whereas eustress is a positive form of stress, usually related to desirable events in person’s life. Both can be equally taxing on the body, and are cumulative in nature, depending on a person’s way of adapting to a change that has caused it.

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