Stress is an inevitable part of life, something we must all deal with at some point. And although everyone will have different types of stress and individual ways to deal with it, stress generally progresses through the same general stages.
Learning the different stages of stress is important to identify what stage you may be experiencing. By knowing the different stages of stress, and being able to identify what you’re experiencing, you can take the appropriate steps to resolve it before it progresses to an unhealthy stage.
Stress can be helpful at times in the sense it may motivate us to achieve tasks, but if not kept in check, it can lead to a chronic condition that can have detrimental impacts to your overall health.
These Are The 5 Stages Of Stress
The Alarm Stage
The first stage of stress is commonly referred to as the “fight or flight” response. It is how your body immediately reacts to something that is stressful. Adrenaline quickly pulses throughout your body, increasing your mental focus and reflexes. Your heart rate quickens in order to send increased blood flow and oxygen to your limbs, readying them for whatever response you decide.
The alarm stage prepares your body the best it can in order to deal with or solve the stress you’re facing. Situations that can induce the alarm stage may include things like needing to stop a vehicle suddenly to avoid an accident, or realizing you forgot to perform a task like meeting a deadline or paying a bill.
Although the alarm stage can cause a great deal of changes within your body, it usually has no long-lasting detrimental effects so long as the stress is quickly dealt with. Only when something continues to bring on continual stress can it become more harmful.
The Resistance Stage
During the resistance stage, your body tries to return back to its normal state. Many of the changes that occur to your body during the alarm stage cause inflammation, therefore your body releases anti-inflammatory hormones to try and ease things.
Your body’s reactions during the resistance stage attempts to make the initial shock of stress fade away, which might make it seem like the stressful event has been dealt with effectively. However, this is simply a temporary fix until you fully solve or remove the stressor at fault. If not truly dealt with, the stress can ultimately lead to the exhaustion stage. This will, in turn, create even more stress on your body, where you run the risk of chronic debilitating disease brought on by tissue breakdown.
The Recovery Stage
Hopefully, you can solve the stressful situation and your body can begin to recover, restoring your body’s systems to natural healthy levels. Even if the stressful event has not been fully dealt with, taking a step back to calm down and relax can allow your body to recover so you can effectively deal with the stress at hand without causing lasting harm to your body.
The cellular demand for vitamins and minerals needed during the alarm stage may need to be replaced with the help of supplements. Restoring your body’s normal biology is vital for a successful recovery. Adequate sleep along with taking time out of your busy schedule to unwind will allow for a quicker and more effective recovery.
The Adaptation Stage
If you do not take the necessary steps to recover by either solving your stress or resting, you then enter what is known as the adaptation stage. Instead of dealing with stress, you simply accept it as a part of your everyday life. Your stress becomes chronic which begins to really take a toll on your overall health.
When you are chronically stressed, you may have difficulty sleeping and therefore have decreased energy. You may find that both your eating habits and weight will change and you will have a harder time dealing with your emotions. Your relationships may begin to suffer and you may find you have less motivation even in regards to enjoying your hobbies.
The adaptation stage is definitely not a solution to dealing with stress, and steps must be taken in order to avoid the next stage which is exhaustion.
The Exhaustion Stage
The body can only handle so much, and can only adapt to deal with short-term stress. If stress becomes chronic, your body begins to break down and its nutrients begin to be depleted. Hospitalization may be required at this stage or you may need the assistance of a mental health doctor to deal with depression-like symptoms.
You may be unaware of just how much of an impact stress is having on your body. Your body’s continual battle with stress can lead to a weakened immune system, making you more prone to sickness and you may develop a range of skin problems such as acne or breakouts.
Now is the time to fully make strides to remove whatever it is that is causing you stress. You may need to seek the help of close family members or friends and quite possibly professional treatment. Until the stress is resolved, your body will not be able to recover and may continue to only get worse.