Acute vs. Chronic stressor



An acute stressor is a once off (sharp and short term) impact, contact, connection. Acute stressors can be good, bad or neutral. Depending on the impact intensity and the state in which a bio-system finds itself, acute stressors (like a short visit to a forest or Las Vegas) are in principle benign. Meaning that acute stressors transmit energy and information to a bio-system and (like an inoculation) challenge it to develop a response that serves to increase its survival capacity. For instance, if I stick a needle once into my arm, I activate my default self-repair and so self-reconstruction program.


Chronic (chronic mending: over time) negative stress happens if I repeatedly stick a needle into the same spot on my arm (or my mother/wife/husband or teenage son/boss presses the same painful button), day after day, week after weak, month after month, year after year. First a wound develops, then it gets bloody and filled with puss, then I get gangrene and my arm drops off. Negative chronic (meaning repeated) mental + emotional stress (read: needling) eventually produces so much mental and physical hard, heavy and slow defence (read: armour) that my survival flexibility decreases. Then I (as primeval predator, and all humans are alfa-predators) living in a jungle (such as Wall Street or my extended family) slow down (i.e. become a very depressed loser) and get caught and eaten and proven unfit for reproduction. Positive (i.e. survival capacity increase) chronic stress happens as repeated ‘self-needling’ (to wit motivation plus exercise) towards a desired goal eventually turns me into a winner, one declared ‘fit’ for reproduction.


Good stress (i.e. eustress (green)), acute or chronic: increases survival capacity.

Bad stress (i.e. distress (red)), acute or chronic: decreases survival capacity.

Neutral stress (i.e. stress (amber)) acute or chronic: maintains survival capacity.


Good stress accelerates towards one’s (survival) goal.

Bad stress decelerates from one’s (survival) goal.

Neutral stress keeps the bio-system in waiting (or ‘down’) time, meaning ‘on standby’, and when the processing capacity is freed up to do necessary house cleaning, repair and maintenance work (as during sleep or any mild coma (or trance) state.


“The meaning of a stressor (as any message) is your response to it!”


Whether or not a stressor (as impact, contact or connection) is good, bad or neutral depends on where you are (to wit, your current state) and where you want to go (to wit, the end state you want to achieve in order to attain release, and its after-affect, enlightenment).