Mental Health

The Four Main Categories of Stress

Stress. It comes to us all. Some of us are more susceptible to feeling stressed that others. There’s no rule to what makes us feel stressed or how we deal with it. However one thing is for sure – stress needs to be acted on and controlled before it gets out of control. It may help you with that if you are aware of what the four main categories of stress are and their characteristics.


This might sound like a contradiction, but eustress is considered to be a friendly type of stress. It’s something which makes us feel good, not bad.

An example of eustress may be the anticipation of competition (say a few moments before the start of a sporting even you are competing in or perhaps part of the crowd) or you are otherwise inspired.

It makes you feel temporarily pumped up and in the moment. You are motivated to do well and give it your all.


Distress is quite the opposite to eustress. A stress event causing you to feel distressed is not going to make you feel good about yourself.

A feeling of distress makes you very uncomfortable about the situation. It plays on your mind, you’re not sure what to do and that drags you down further increasing your stress levels.

If you can manage to deal with whatever is stressing you quickly (for example it may be a relatively minor thing) and make it go away, your feeling of distress should go away with it.

If not the distress may get worse and affect you for longer until the cause of distress can be managed.

We have all been there during our lives. The most important thing is to do something about it and take action.


Just like the name suggests – hyperstress occurs when whatever is stressing us pushes us further than we can cope with. We all have our limits and stress levels are no exception.

In the case of stress – going beyond our limits and venturing in to hyperstress territory can push us towards a mental breakdown.

A common cause of hyperstress is being so consumed with many tasks and responsibilities (both personal and professional) that the person simply cannot manage any longer and is pushed over the edge.

If this is you – seek help immediately. Or ideally seek help before you get to the hyperstress stage.


Another category of stress is hypostress. It’s sort of the opposite of hyperstress.

With hypostress, it can be brought on by having too little to do or be responsible for. In other words – boredom. You have nothing to do and no motivation.

Hypostress may be caused for example by having a dull job which does not stretch or challenge you or not having any hobbies which keep you occupied outside work.

Looking for new challenges or taking up a new hobby can help with tackling hypostress.

These are the four main categories of stress. Each one can be managed to reduce their effects and reduce your stress levels.

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