Defining stress

Stress is simply a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium. In other words, it's an omnipresent part of life. Stressful event can trigger the “fight-or-flight". Psychologist define stress as a physical, mental or emotional response to events that causes bodily or mental tension. In simple words, stress is any outside force or event that has an effect on our body or mind.

Classification of stress and stressor

Types of Stressors (Eustress vs. Distress)

Stress is not always a bad thing. There are usually two types of stressors:


Eustress is a positive stress, Eustress is the good stress that motivates you to continue working. Everyone needs a little bit of stress in their life in order to continue to be happy, motivated, challenged and productive. It is when this stress is no longer tolerable and/or manageable that distress comes in.

Examples of Eustress

Ø Receiving a promotion or raise at work

Ø Starting a new job

Ø Having a first child

Ø Marriage

Ø Buying a home


Distress is bad stress that every person experience in tension state. This is the kind of stress most of us are familiar with and this is the kind of stress that leads to poor decision making power.

Causes or example of Distress

  • Fears (e.g., fear of flying, heights, public speaking, chatting with strangers at a party)
  •  Repetitive Thought Patterns
  •  Worrying about future events (e.g. waiting for medical test results or job)


Psychologist categorize stress into three different types that is acute stress, episodic stress, and chronic stress.

Acute stress 

Acute stress is the most widely experienced one, it typically is caused by the daily demands and pressures experienced by each one of us. Acute stress is what actually brings about excitement, joy and thrill in our lives. Riding a roller coaster in a theme park, for instance, is a situation that brings about acute stress, yet brings excitement. However, riding a higher and longer roller coaster can bring so much stress that you wish it would end sooner, or that you should have not gone for the ride in the first place.

There are some psychological and physical symptoms that person experience during acute stress. Acute stress is for a short period of time. Physical symptoms include headache, pain, stomach upset, dizziness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath and hypertension. Psychological symptoms are anger, anxiety, irritability and acute periods of depression.