We face stress factors at work every day. But what are the four types of stress? What causes them and how can we cope with them more effectively? Knowing more about these stress factors can help us overcome them.
If you were asked to list the types of stress you face at work on a daily basis, how many sheets of paper would you need? 100? 1000? More? What if we told you that there were only four basic types of stresses? You would probably scoff or roll your eyes.
In fact, the actual number of things that cause stress is basically unlimited. However, there are categories of stress that we face daily. Every stress factor we have can carefully be classified into one of the four main categories.
In this article we will discuss the types of stress that we face at home, work and in life in general and what those categories are. We will also cover how to help manage stress and to alleviate the symptoms and causes when possible.
The Four Types of Stress
In 1979 Dr. Karl Albrecht published a book called Stress and the Manager. This book explains the four types of stress as they related to the business world. The four categories of stress form the acronym TASE, for easier retention.
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The T stands for Time stress, the A for Anticipatory stress the S stands for Situational stress and the E for Encounter stress. Each one of the vast myriads of stresses can be placed in one of the four categories.
So, what exactly are the four types of stress that were identified over four decades ago by Dr. Albrecht?
Stress is essentially a byproduct of worry. Not all stress is self-inflicted, although there is some speculation that our stress is all originated from within. When we worry about time essential things, deadlines, or the lack of time, time stress is evoked.
Time stress makes us worried about running out of time to complete tasks, or that we will fail to reach a goal or deadline. We rush, we make bad decisions or even worse, we stop, give up and admit defeat.
The stress can cause us to begin to dislike our position in the workforce, even going so far as to quit our jobs, or even develop physical side effects.
The video below is aimed at college students but can help with work stress as well.
Dealing With Time Stress
If you are susceptible to time stress, managing your time will help alleviate the symptoms. Charting your time and deadlines can go a long way to helping remove time stress from your life.
Some of the things that can be done are related to time management. You can create calendars, use mobile phone apps and online reminders. Time management will help and there are more and more methods to help in time management.
You should also prioritize your duties and tasks. The most time-sensitive isn’t always the most important or the most difficult. However, prioritizing your tasks in an order that complies with their due dates can help your stress levels drop.
Finally, you can also use your time wisely by knowing your personal schedule. If you work better in the evenings, for example, you can save your more difficult or time-sensitive tasks for after dinner.
Likewise, if you are a morning person, then you can use the quiet morning hours to complete tasks, set goals or work on objectives when you are more alert and after a good night’s sleep.
The second among the types of stress is categorized to include the stresses we have about things that haven’t happened yet. The future is unknown and in that, can cause a lot of uneasiness. This can include things that we know has to be done at some point in the future.
It also includes the unknown. We stress about things that we don’t know will ever happen and this can make it tough to deal with. If you find yourself dreading what will happen next, or thinking that something is about to go wrong, this is anticipatory stress.
How do you deal with this type of stress? According to Dr. Albrecht, planning along with positive thinking will help a lot. Just because something can go a certain way doesn’t mean it will. Murphy’s Law isn’t set in stone.
Dealing With Anticipatory Stress
We tend to worry more than we should because of past experiences with similar situations. If we don’t like talking in public and have to give a speech next month, that month will be filled with stress.
You have to begin to think positive and understand that just because it has gone bad before, doesn’t mean it will again. If you can imagine other, positive scenarios, the stress levels will diminish. You also should be using time management techniques (form the previous examples) and can use that time to practice your speech, work out the kinks and build your confidence.
The video below talks about how we can deal with anticipatory stress.
The third stress, situational is based on what is currently happening. This is one of the hardest types of stress to deal with That’s because the causes are often completely out of our control. Situations that we have little to no control of or that involve conflict or confrontation are situational. This can be but doesn’t have to be, an emergency.
If something unexpected comes up and we have to alter our plans or schedule right away to handle the situation, that is situational stress. It can involve coworkers who constantly create drama and conflict. Or you may have a boss who keeps dumping things on you at the last minute. Dealing with this stress can be one of the most difficult because we aren’t expecting it. Or, we expect it but don’t know what form it will take.
Dealing With Situational Stress
While it deals with the unknown, there are ways we can manage the stress and deal with the issues as they occur without adding to our stress levels.
When we are under pressure, our bodies send signals that come out in thoughts, body language and other forms. We tend not to be very self-aware as we are worried about whatever is going on. Practicing being more aware of ourselves and how we are reacting, we can easily manage the situations that crop up out of nowhere.
Being able to anticipate uncomfortable situations will also go a long way to reducing stress when something does happen. This is a learned trait and must be practiced.
Taking time out to be self-aware and anticipating situations that may come up will not only help us manage situational stress but will also work hand in hand with anticipatory stresses and alleviating one will have a direct effect on the other.
Here are WellCast’s techniques for dealing with situational stress in the workplace.
The final entry for the types of stress on our list is encounter stress. This is stress that occurs because of other people. If we don’t look forward to interacting with a certain person and know we have to, the stress levels will rise.
This could be a family member, a co-worker, etc. It can be anyone or a group of people. As a member of humanity, we have to interact with other people on a regular basis. Encounter stress is going to come up more often than you may think.
Encounter stress, according to Albrecht, also encompasses having too much contact with others. This overload can cause us to be irritable, looking for an escape, or not wanting to interact anymore.
Dealing With Encounter Stress
Dealing with encounter stress can be tricky. It will go against our natural reactions when dealing with people that we may want to avoid.
Being able to recognize people for how they are responding will help this type of stress. The ability to recognize and understand body language, inflections in speech and other patterns, we can be more prepared for dealing with the aspects of interaction.
When you can recognize the wants and needs of others, not only will your stress drop as you can make plans to react, but you also project your own needs and desires more clearly. Everyone ends up better off in the long run and your stress levels drop.
Empathy, along with the recognition will help remove the symptoms of this stress type and help us deal with other people better. You will notice the physical symptoms of encounter stress are irritability, becoming angry, or even having an upset stomach or physical pain.
Here’s a helpful video on four difficult types of people and how we can handle them.
Stress and the Manager outlines the four major types of stress. Nearly all types of stress we encounter in our daily lives falls into one of the groups listed above..
Knowing the type of stress, we are dealing with will go a long way to knowing how to deal with those stresses. Time stress occurs when we have deadlines, suffer from poor time management, or other time-related factors can be dealt with through time management skills and planning ahead.
Likewise, Anticipatory and Situational stress happens when we worry about things that haven’t happened yet or things that crop up seemingly out of nowhere. Again, the ability to deal with these stresses stems from being aware and having the ability to plan ahead.
With encounter stress, we worry about, or dread, dealing with people in our daily lives. Having empathy and learning how to read body language will allow us to deal with people in a better mindset.
Strive to eliminate stress in your daily lives. The best way to do this is to recognize the type of stress you have and knowing how to deal with it specifically.
Here are some DIY hacks for coping with stress at work.
Featured image: CC0 Public Domain Caio Triana via Pixabay.