Stress is something that we all experience at times – it’s the body’s hard wired response to difficult or challenging situations. There are two types of stress: acute stress and chronic stress.
Acute stress is when we are in immediate danger or have an urgent concern. At times like this, the body secretes certain hormones that can help us.
Chronic stress is when we constantly worry about past or future events that are out of our control. In the long term, the on-going release of these stress hormones and the chemical changes that they produce in the body can contribute to serious health risks. These risks can include: heart disease, a weakened immune system, weight gain, increased anxiety and depression, the inability to focus and concentrate, and sleep difficulties.
Assessing your stress
There are many tools that can help you measure the stress you are experiencing in life, and help you know if it is a problem that is impacting your overall health and well-being. Below are a few of these resources:
- Stress Screener: Mental Health America
- Work-Life Balance Quiz: Canadian Mental Health Association
- Burnout Questionnaire for Clinicians: British Medical Association