Stages Of Stress, From Alarm To Exhaustion

The phases of stress, from alarm to exhaustion

Stages of stress are the different stages or levels in the development of this problem. It must be said that stress is dynamic: it moults, it changes. Very often, and imperceptibly, it begins to progress to more serious stages which can be life threatening.

Stress is one of the greatest ailments of our time. Now it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have a certain level of anxiety or anxiety. This problem is serious: it can lead to serious individual and collective consequences.

We live in a world where people are stressed. Especially in big cities. But stress is contagious. We must therefore not only pay attention to individual concerns: we must also monitor the discomfort of those around us. These situations are not easy to manage. To achieve this, the first thing to do is to know how to identify the phases of stress and to determine if we are going through one.

The alarm, the first phase of stress

In general terms, stress arises when we face a situation that involves threat or risk. The normal reaction of a human being, in this case, is to prepare for attack or flight.

woman running because of stress

This is accompanied by a series of physiological manifestations, during which there is a sudden release of adrenaline and cortisol. The latter is truly the stress hormone. In the long run, the frequent production of these hormones can lead to serious problems.


The second phase of stress is resistance. Once you have received a stressful stimulus,  a biological mechanism called “homeostasis” is activated. It is a self-protection and self-preservation mechanism  through which the body seeks to find a balance.

However,  sometimes the stressful mechanism remains very present, whether in reality or in our imagination. The organism cannot therefore return to its state of equilibrium. This is when the first symptoms of stress appear. These include fatigue, difficulty falling asleep, irritability, and general discomfort.

Exhaustion phase

If the problem continues for a long time, we enter the third stage of stress. This step indicates a more serious problem. All previous symptoms are present permanently and intensely.

During this phase, it is common to see physical illnesses appear. The immune system weakens and this facilitates viral or bacterial infections. It is also usual to suffer from migraines, muscle pain in different places of the body and a very strong emotional blockage.

woman tired from stress

Fight stress

Each of the phases of stress requires different management. In the first step, it is important to delineate and control the effect of the stimulus perceived as threatening. Once the person feels this sudden and intense fear, they should take a break to become aware of the situation.

It is important to note that there are real dangers and imaginary dangers. The most difficult to tackle are these. They are permanent and have more harmful effects. It is therefore essential to define the limits of this risk or danger. To establish how it can affect us and to what extent. We must also breathe, drink a glass of water and wait for our body to calm down.


During the second phase, this risk is more or less fixed. Again, it is important to be aware of this. If it is not possible for us to determine what really scares us, it does not matter. Stress can block this capacity for self-evaluation. The main thing is to act. The necessary measures are: to play sports and to take care to rest. These two factors will help us overcome the problem.

If a person is in the last phase, the problem becomes much more complex. It is therefore recommended to undergo psychotherapy  because clarifying your emotions without external help is almost impossible. Don’t be afraid to ask for it. It is best not to wait too long to seek this psychological support because stress can have very negative consequences.


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