The dictionary meaning of stress reads: “A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.” Stress is, therefore, the reaction to signing up for anything that exceeds our capacity with respect to it. Just like when our body rejects excessive alcohol consumption by puking, stress shows itself in the most unexpected of ways, and unlike puke, remains in our system, gradually eroding us from within.
There are many types of stress but the four universal types of stress are- time stress, anticipatory stress, situational stress, and encounter stress. Time stress is perhaps the most common type of stress there is. When deadlines feel like impending doom upon you, and nail-biting and constant leg shaking among other tremors start showing up, you can say that you are suffering from time stress. It is usually related to the obligations of a time-bound to nature.
A typical example of the time stress is a student, as he suffers from the maximum time stress in respect to submission of assignments, projects, studying for exams, etc. It is essential to manage time stress by making fixed schedules, to-do lists and most of all, learn time management skills. Dealing with time stress is all about prioritizing the most urgent of your tasks at hand to the least important tasks.
Anticipatory stress, on the other hand, is in a way time stress, but of the future kind. Isolated thoughts in the middle of the night about what you’re doing and where you’re going in life are the most enunciated forms of anticipatory stress. Waiting for your exam results, or waiting to hear from a company you applied in to contribute to anticipatory stress. Types of stress management techniques for anticipatory stress are replacing the event or situation you are dreading with positive daydreams that make you look forward to the same instead. For example, imagine that you’ve passed in your exams with a great score, or that you get a call back from your dream company and get the job.
Situational stress, very obviously spurs from the environment you are in and is triggered by the stimulus, (external factor) that kick starts the ‘fight or flight’ response in you. A common misconception is that this is experienced only by introverts. That is not the case as situational stress symptoms often emanate from situations like wanting to impress your boss at your work party, socializing outside your comfort zone, etc.
One way to beat this kind of stress is to be more self- aware in situations you could not anticipate, by recognizing the emotional and physical signals your body gives, like excessive sweating, stammering, slurred speech, etc. Instead of getting flustered, learn and apply effective conflict resolution skills, to increase your self-confidence in impromptu situations.
Encounter stress involves personal interactions with people you may or may not like. One clichéd albeit scary example of encounter stress is seeing your ex after a long time. Social workers, clinical experts may experience a lot of this stress because maximum of the people they speak to are constantly distressed which overall, bogs them down. Working on your people skills and developing greater emotional intelligence will help you not freak out when faced with an unpleasant encounter. People respond differently to stress and the four types of stress management techniques are also subjective; hence remember to use the ones that suit you best.