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What types of Stress are there?

According to The Health Centre (2006), there are four main types of stress that adults experience.


Eustress is a type of short-term stress that provides immediate strength. Eustress arises at points of increased physical activity, enthusiasm, and creativity. Eustress is a positive stress that arises when motivation and inspiration are needed. A gymnast experiences eustress before a competition.

This type of stress is considered positive, if it occurs only in required amounts and not over a prolonged period of time. If these feelings are experienced over a prolonged period of time or frequently it may develop into other forms of stress.


Distress is a negative stress brought about by constant readjustments or alterations in a routine. Distress creates feelings of discomfort and unfamiliarity. There are two types of distress. Acute stress is an intense stress that arrives and disappears quickly. Chronic stress is a prolonged stress that exists for weeks, months, or even years. Someone who is constantly relocating or changing jobs may experience distress.

Both acute stress and chronic stress can result in negative effects on one’s health, both physically, mentally and emotionally. It is important to recognise this type of stress as potentially harmful and identify ways to reduce and manage these emotions.


Hyperstress occurs when an individual is pushed beyond what he or she can handle. Hyperstress results from being overloaded or overworked. When someone is hyperstressed, even little things can trigger a strong emotional response. A Wall Street trader is likely to experience hyperstress.

Hyperstress can have significant effects on one’s health, both in the short term and also in the long term. Hypostress is likely to affect all facets on a person’s life, including their work, their home life and even their social life and personal relationships.


Hypostress is the opposite of hyperstress. Hypostress occurs when an individual is bored or unchallenged. People who experience hypostress are often restless and uninspired. A factory worker who performs repetitive tasks might experience hypostress.

While this type of stress is not generally considered harmful in the short term, it can have significant negative impacts over the long term, affecting a person’s motivation, performance and overall health and wellbeing.

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