Topic Progress:

What it is | When you’re at an ice cream parlor, you likely won’t ask for a single scoop of just one flavor. If you’re like most folks, you’ll order a double scoop—even a triple—with each being a different flavor. You live but once, right? When it comes to stress, life often dishes out several scoops! And that sundae is called pervasive stress: a combination of potent, persistent and perceptual stress.

Perhaps you or a loved one are dealing with cancer—persistent stress. On top of that, you had recently invested in a little fixer-upper, hoping to make a good profit, but the house is not selling, and the interest on the loan is growing daily—potent stress. Several of your friends know about this project of yours, and you just know that they’re laughing at your poor judgment, especially since some had warned that this is not the time to be flipping homes—perceptual stress.

Can you relate? There’s always something, isn’t there?

How to manage it | There’s no magic bullet to get rid of pervasive stress. Since it is a combination of two or more other stresses, the way to manage it is to sift through events and behaviors and address each source of stress independently, before your pent up “stress sundae” gets the better of you.


Answer the questions below and share insights with your spouse or a trusted friend.

  • In the past few weeks, which of the four types of stress had you encountered?
  • Having identified some sources of stress and preliminary strategies for dealing with those, have you seen a change in your stress levels?