The 5 types of stress – and what to do about them

Stress is a catch-all phrase but there are different kinds, and different ways to deal with each of them.

The modern world brings stress in all shapes and forms, and building resilience and coping strategies is key to managing it.

Environmental stress

“We’re exposed to tens of thousands of chemicals in food, clothing, furniture and personal care products,” says Dr Ron Ehrlich, author of A Life Less Stressed: The Five Pillars of Health and Wellness.

“In addition, electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones, WiFi and Bluetooth have been classified by the World Health Organisation as a Class 2b carcinogen, with the potential to cause cancer.”

So choose the products you use day to day carefully and you can potentially reduce environmental stresses by 80 to 90 per cent, says Dr Ehrlich.

postural stress

Postural stresses

As hunters and gatherers, humans moved around frequently.

The technological revolution has drastically reduced how much we move day to day.

“Sitting is the new smoking,” says Dr Ehrlich.

“And people often spend a lot of time looking down at their phones and that puts enormous strain on our neck, shoulders and spine.”

Our posture can also be under stress when we sleep. Avoid sleeping on your stomach as it’s the worst position for the head, neck, jaw, muscles, airways and digestion.

Emotional stress

This type of stress runs down our immune system and damages the ability to think logically.

“We don’t have control over everything, but we have some control over how we react to things,” says Dr Ehrlich.

“Becoming aware of the effects that emotional stress have on our health is a motivator to take control over how we react.”

Nurturing relationships and practising gratitude have also been shown to have positive effects on managing emotional stress.

dental stress

Dental stress

The shape and size of your mouth determines the shape and size of your upper airway.

A narrow airway can lead to shallow mouth breathing and upper respiratory infections like enlarged tonsils, asthma, allergies.

“The mouth is the site of the two most common infections – tooth decay and gum disease – and gum disease is linked to diseases like heart disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer,” says Dr Ehrlich.

Nutritional stress

“The foundation of our diet has become carbohydrates that elevate blood sugar and man-made oils that are inflammatory,” says Dr Ehrlich.

“We also see an over-use of factory-farmed meats and the use of additives, preservatives, herbicides, antibiotics and pesticides. Too much processed food and over-eating are all nutritional stresses.”

Focusing on whole foods, minimising carbohydrates and drinking water help ease nutritional stress.

A Life Less Stressed: The Five Pillars of Health and Wellness by Dr Ron Ehrlich, Scribe $35.00

Written by Sarah Marinos