The 7 Different Types of Stress—and How to Ease Them

Type of stress: Urban living

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A study done at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute indicates that the travails of city life are associated with a greater, overall lifetime risk for mood disorders and anxiety. According to the study, the sounds, smells, and experience of urban living impacts significantly upon the amygdala and cingulate cortex—two areas of the brain tasked with regulating emotion and stress. Moving to more rural surroundings is one way to cope, but another, more practical solution may be allowing your brain to take a much-needed vacation, daily, through meditation.

"Practices that train us to tune into these expressions of stress, such as mindfulness meditation, offer a way to effectively manage stress," says Jason Thomas, LEP, an educational psychologist, and meditation teacher at Evenflow Meditation. "This training gives us a greater capacity to be compassionately aware of our thoughts, emotions, body sensations, and behaviors as they are happening. With this compassionate awareness, we give ourselves an opportunity to step out of the stress cycle and regain a sense of emotional balance."

Type of stress: Childhood trauma

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The types include sexual abuse, natural disasters, war, and automobile crashes. It can result in lifelong consequences, including an inability to regulate emotion, difficulty focusing, memory problems, and chronic stress. Attempting to manage the stress of childhood trauma, ideally, begins in childhood. However, many adults find themselves still grappling with unresolved issues dating back years, or decades. Working with a therapist can help you identify the underlying cause of your stress, plus provide tools for building resilience. Medications, prescribed either long, or short term, can also help. "Chronic stress can be managed with coping strategies, but serious, institutional methods may become necessary," says Gabriella I. Farkas, MD, PhD, founder of Pearl Behavioral Health & Medicine, and Pearl Medical Publishing. "Medicines like Celexa, Prozac, Sertraline, and Citalopram (to name a few) can be prescribed for symptom reduction, and therapies (including relaxation therapy, psychoanalysis, and cognitive-behavioral therapy) can help analyze the causes of stress, and address possible lifestyle changes to attack the stress at its origin."

Type of stress: Money woes

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If you can't make the mortgage, save a penny for retirement, or come up with cash to feed your kids, extreme stress is bound to occur. This type of stress can be chronic, resulting in depression, feelings of helplessness, and even heart disease or cancer. Money-related stress is not easy to fix but does respond to positive lifestyle changes. If unemployment is the issue, working with a non-profit employment counselor is a solid, first step. If you have some money in the bank but are living above your means, it can help to analyze your spending habits versus your income, and working with a financial planner, to make adjustments. Be aware of these telltale signs you're more stressed than you realized.

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