Stress management: different types of stress and how to cope

January 17, 2022

By Tehmina Shakir, M.D., Wayne Health Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, WSU Assistant Clinical Professor

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines stress as “the reaction people may have when presented with demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope.” Stress follows us everywhere and it is hard to avoid it. Having said that, not all stress is bad or harmful.

Different types of stress

Positive stress is desirable stress that keeps our life exciting and help us stay motivated and moving forward. Without this positive stress life would be boring and uneventful.


  • Preparing for an exam
  • Getting married.

Tolerable stress is caused by events happening in life that may lead to acute stressors which appear suddenly, and are usually intense and short lived. Resolution of acute stress helps the body to slowly get back to normal level of functioning. Example includes death of a loved one.

Toxic stress is caused by frequent episodes of acute stress which prevents the body to get back to its normal level of functioning. Experiencing one adversity after another gets in the way of healing and causes toxic stress. Toxic stress leads to multiple problems in all domains of health.

Factors influencing impact of stress include genetics, environment, number and severity of stressor, a person’s ability to cope and social supports. We can cope with stress by finding balance in life and taking care of our physical, emotional, mental spiritual and social health. We can start with identifying things that we value and finding time to do them in our schedule. Having clear and realistic expectations from self and others, building a support system, and allowing oneself to enjoy moments of peace and calm are some of the ways we can holistically take care of our health and build our endurance to cope with stressors life throws at us.

Wayne Health Psychiatry and Behavioral Health offers an array of comprehensive and integrated behavioral health services that help people from different walks of life. Dr. Shakir’s treatments include psychotherapy, medications and support groups.

To set up an appointment with Dr. Shakir, or another Wayne Health provider, visit our appointment page or call (877) 929-6342.

Stress management: different types of stress and how to cope
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