A stressed indian business woman leans against the glass windows of an office building, holding her head as if it aches

The 5 Different Types of Stress (and How to Manage Them)

Stress is a universal experience; everyone encounters it in various forms throughout life. While it’s a common part of the human condition, understanding the different types of stress is crucial for effectively preserving our health. Because stress, in any form, and our ability to handle it, are the two factors with the most effect on our mental and physical well-being.


Each type of stress comes with its unique challenges, and recognizing them can pave the way for more targeted coping strategies.


1. Situational Stress


Situational stress is a response to specific events or situations. It can arise from a looming deadline, a challenging project, or unexpected life changes. 


To manage situational stress, breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable steps can make the situation feel less overwhelming. Creating a realistic timeline and seeking support from colleagues, friends, or family can also lighten the load.


2. Anticipatory Stress


Anticipatory stress is the anxiety we feel about future events. It often occurs when we’re anticipating something important or potentially challenging. 


To cope with anticipatory stress, focusing on what you can control, like preparation and planning, is key. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, can help bring the focus back to the present moment, reducing future-oriented anxiety.


3. Psychosocial Stress


Psychosocial stress stems from social and psychological factors, such as work relationships, family dynamics, or financial pressures. 


Building a strong support system and nurturing positive relationships can be effective in managing psychosocial stress. Setting boundaries, both in personal and professional life, is crucial. Engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation can also counterbalance the effects of psychosocial stress.


4. Chronic Stress


Chronic stress is persistent and can result from long-term issues like ongoing health problems, financial struggles, or work-related challenges. Managing chronic stress requires a comprehensive approach. 


Regular physical activity, a healthy diet, and sufficient sleep are foundational. Developing effective time management skills, seeking professional help when needed, and cultivating resilience through activities you enjoy can contribute to coping with chronic stress.


5. Good Stress


Not all stress is harmful; some stress, known as eustress or ‘good stress,’ can be beneficial. Eustress is the positive form of stress that motivates and energises individuals. It often accompanies exciting life events, such as starting a new job, getting married, or pursuing personal goals. 


To manage eustress effectively, it’s important to maintain a balance and prevent it from tipping into distress. Setting realistic goals, practising time management, and embracing challenges with a positive mindset can help harness the benefits of eustress without letting it become overwhelming.


Understanding the nuances of these stress types empowers individuals to develop the right skills that help them cope in a healthy manner. Professional guidance from psychologists, therapists, and/or digital therapy programs are critical ways of developing these skills.


By acknowledging stress as a universal experience, we take the first step toward building resilience. By recognizing and understanding different stress types, we can develop targeted strategies for managing the challenges that life inevitably brings – without sacrificing our mental health.




  • Bienertova-Vasku J, Lenart P, Scheringer M. Eustress and Distress: Neither Good Nor Bad, but Rather the Same? Bioessays. 2020 Jul;42(7):e1900238. 
  • Mariotti A. The effects of chronic stress on health: new insights into the molecular mechanisms of brain-body communication. Future Sci OA. 2015 Nov 1;1(3):FSO23. 
  • Yaribeygi H, Panahi Y, Sahraei H, Johnston TP, Sahebkar A. The impact of stress on body function: A review. EXCLI J. 2017 Jul 21;16:1057-1072.


Raksha Rajesh (M.Sc., M.Phil., CRR No. A80195) is a clinical psychologist licensed by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI). She has 5+ years of experience in helping people from diverse backgrounds build skills to understand and manage their emotions.

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