What is stress?
We all respond to stress differently and we all see different things as being stressful. Some of us love to create and cook a complicated dinner party menu, have twenty children round for a sleepover, or even go bungee jumping. For others it would be their worst nightmare!
We tend to think of stress as arising out of bad experiences but even if your promotion at work is a good thing, it can be stressful to take on extra responsibilities. So it's easier to define stress as being any change you must adjust to.

Stress can be
• Environmental, such as housing, job, family, weather, noise, time pressures, etc
• Physical such as adolescence, menopause, illness, bad nutrition, smoking, etc
• Psychological such as fear, anxiety, worry, bereavement, lack of self esteem or confidence etc
You cannot always control the things that make you feel stressed (though you could probably choose not to go bungee jumping) but being aware of the way you respond to stress can help you cope better and reduce your chance of developing a stress related illness.

Stress personality type
For convenience, the most common ways of responding to stress are divided into stress "personality types".
• Type As are always in a hurry, competitive, often short-tempered, and bad at delegating: perfectionists who live for deadlines and timetables. They often seem to create their own stress or seek it out, because part of them enjoys it and they may even perform better under pressure. Even so, they are at high risk for stress related illness because their bodies are not designed to live at such a pace all the time.

• Type Bs are the complete opposite. They have a relaxed attitude, are generally content and accept what life brings them. Type Bs are the least likely to suffer stress related problems. If they do become stressed it is often short term or due to environmental factors they cannot control e.g. house moves, losing a job.
• Type Cs are the ones who bottle everything up. They seem calm and relaxed because they never release anger or other feelings no matter how strong those feelings are. They believe they have to control their feelings and will not "unload" to family and friends. If it all finally becomes too much for them, they can suddenly become ill, or explode in an excess of emotion. Type As can do this too, but they will do it more easily and frequently. Type Cs only rage when they are at the end of their tether.

Recognise yourself? Probably, but remember that these are generalisations and you probably have characteristics of more than one group, or respond differently in different situations. But identifying how you're responding to your stress right now can help you identify the way you need to deal with it.

Reducing stress
• Type As usually have to look at their lifestyle as a whole, and reduce the amount of pressure they are under. Coping strategies may help but if their attitude and workload remains the same, the problems are likely to recur.
• Type Bs may find it's enough to learn ways cope during a crisis. Once it's over, their good attitude will reassert itself and their stress levels will reduce.
• Type Cs have to learn to deal with and express their feelings - and to accept this doesn't mean they are weak.
Everyone can help reduce their risk of stress related illness by learning to recognise when their levels are rising and to do something about it. Try:
• daily relaxation - do something you enjoy, learn self hypnosis
• look after yourself - stop smoking, eat better, and exercise
• break down overwhelming tasks into smaller chunks - then cope with them one at a time
• plan and prioritise - clear important things first and accept that some things can wait
• make a list of things you should have done a long time ago - do one a day till they are all gone
• learn to say no politely and firmly - and use it
• if it's really a struggle enlist the help of your GP or a therapist

By Debbie Waller BA (Hons). GQHP. GHR Reg. Aufh.
Yorkshire Hypnotherapist

Author's Bio: 

Debbie is a clinical hypnotherapist practising in the Yorkshire (UK) area.