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What are the three categories of stress?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
In general, life's stressors can be grouped into three categories, which all have different implications for your life and for your health. Typically, the first kind of stress does its part to wear us down and fatigue us but really won't be all that harmful healthwise. The last two kinds of stress are the ones that do the most damage.
  1. Ongoing Low-level Stress. You work, you have a family, you interact with people who sometimes sneeze without covering their mouths. Life generates a constant hum of stress, no matter who you are or what you do. To expect that you can eliminate all stress is not only unreasonable but unhealthy because your ability to respond to stress can make you stronger.
  2. Nagging Unfinished Tasks. One of the most influential forms of stress comes in the form of a chisel that chips and chips and chips and chips and chips away at your brain cells a little bit at a time. Until. You. Can't. Take. It. Any-freaking-more! Whether it's a cluttered closet, or cracked bathroom tiles that have been staring at you for years, or weekly paperwork that gnaws at you every Friday, these nagging unfinished tasks (I call them NUTs) are much more destructive than the low levels of stress we expect from life.
  3. Major Life Events. You don't need me to tell you the kinds of things that fit this category; things like a divorce, a move, a job change, a death in the family, a sudden illness, and bankruptcy aren't exactly on the same level as a cell-phone battery dying. The stats show that three major life events in a one-year period will make your body feel and act as though it were 32 years older in the following year—meaning that it's especially important to develop coping strategies and support systems to sustain you in times of crisis.
You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty

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You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty

International bestselling authors of YOU: The Owner's Manual and YOU: On a Diet give you all the tools and know-how to stay young and defy the ageing process. Drawing lively parallels between your...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.