5 Common Ways People Respond to Stress

Stress is talked about regularly and many complain of feeling stressed when their personal or working life is not going to plan. Despite the topic being more open for discussion than in the past, there is still a lack of understanding when it comes to how each person responds to stress.

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Learning to manage stress levels and identify potential stressors is something that could be covered as part of a residential treatment program in Orange County, CA, for instance, and that is important because there are ongoing implications for your physical and mental health profile. 

Here is a look at some common ways that people respond differently to stress. 

You develop a feeling of paralysis in response to stress 

One of the most common responses to stress is to freeze. What that means is your mind and body respond in a specific way, either by experiencing a feeling of being completely overwhelmed, or alternatively, you might develop a state of hyper-vigilance. 

Although these are contrasting stress responses, they share the same driver. That is what is commonly described as the freeze response. This is where you feel paralyzed and either allow yourself to be overwhelmed or try to become hyper-vigilant in an attempt to counteract these feelings. 

Stress makes you ready to fight and raise your defenses 

There are two classic stress responses that many of us are aware of. We all tend to experience one or the other when subjected to extreme levels of stress. You are highly likely to either respond to stress by going into either fight or flight mode. 

Fight mode puts your body into an aggressive self-defense state. You don’t always know how your body is going to respond until you are faced with a threatening and stressful scenario. 

When you go into fight mode your body is readying itself to combat the situation and reduce the perceived risk to your physical or mental state. 

You want to run away from a dangerous or stressful situation 

If you don’t respond to stress by going into fight mode, that means you will feel an overwhelming urge to escape a stressful situation and withdraw to a safer place or space. 

Not everyone feels the urge to fight and just as many are likely to experience the opposite reaction and go into flight mode in response to stress. 

You rise to the challenge of stress 

The bottom line is that the way you respond to and process stress is directly linked to how you perceive it in the first place. 

While some of us might view stress in a threatening way, others might view it as a challenge that needs to be overcome. The challenge response is also a common way that some of us will react to stress. If you experience the challenger response you will feel your body respond by raising your energy levels and increasing the rate of your heartbeat. 

This reaction to stress often gives you a sharper focus and enhanced concentration levels so that you challenge what stress is doing to you and bring things under control when in this state. 

You reach out to others in response to stress 

Lastly, you might experience what is called the tend and befriend response. This is where your subconscious pushes you to reach out to others you trust to talk about your issues. 

Once you get your feelings out in the open in that way it has the effect of reducing your level of vulnerability. The tend and befriend response helps you gain confidence to tackle what is at the heart of your stress. 

How do you respond to stress? Whatever your physical or emotional response, it is also a good idea to seek professional help when you feel overwhelmed or need guidance to process your thoughts in a structured way.

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