There are several different types of stress, and not all of them are necessarily unhealthy. Acute stress is one of the least damaging types of stress, which is good because it is also the most common type. We experience acute stress multiple times throughout the day. Acute stress is experienced as an immediate perceived threat, either physical, emotional or psychological. These threats don’t need to be intensely threatening–they can be mild stressors like an alarm clock going off, a new assignment at work, or even a phone call that needs to be answered when you’re relaxing on the couch and your phone is across the room.
Acute stress can also be more serious, like being pulled over for speeding, getting into an argument with a friend, or taking a test. The threat can be real or imagined; it’s the perception of threat that triggers the stress response.