In the proper dosages, stress can be your best friend. It's a necessary ingredient for growth and development. After all, stress can be working out at the gym, daily work toward growing your business, and pushing your mental limits to become world class.

However, too much stress without the appropriate tools and awareness can become the very thing that derails your growth and development. Stress is a tricky entity, with multiple identities that can appear in a multitude of ways in our lives.

With that said, here are four types of chronic stress that can slow down your growth.

1. Emotional Stress

Emotional stress is challenging to handle because it quickly leads to less-than-ideal behaviors due to situations in life not going your way. Emotional stress can appear as you being easily agitated, moody, overwhelmed with feelings of little control over your life, feeling bad about yourself, and difficulty quieting your mind.

No matter the symptoms you show, emotional stress left unmanaged leads to avoidant behaviors which only place you further from the solution.

It's essential to remember that you can't control the world around you nor how people respond to you. But you can control your response to those situations.

When it comes to dealing with emotional stress, the most important trait to develop is self-awareness.

Self-awareness can be developed through committing to a mindfulness practice, such as meditation or journaling your thoughts out so you can make logical decisions instead of ones fueled solely by emotions.

2. Environmental Stress

Your environment can either propel you into growth and expansion or keep you mired in stagnation and frustration. Improving your environmental stressors starts with awareness and auditing areas you frequently visit.

What type of friends do you hang around with? How does your city make you feel? Does the inside of your home elicit good feelings? What about your work environment? If you're not being inspired and feeling energetic from those things, you're discreetly accumulating stress.

If work is an issue, you might not be able to completely overhaul your office or hand in your two-week notice, but you can add elements that conjure up positive feelings and emotions.

You could add small plants for your desk or photos to remind you why you're working so hard, and listen to audiobooks on the way to work to inspire you.

3. Relational Stress

Whether it's a partner not feeling like they're getting attention due to your work schedule or friends peer pressuring you into old habits that no longer serve you--it's vastly important to equip yourself with the proper tools to handle these potential types of relational stress.

For example, when it comes to your partner, don't be critical of them. Acknowledge their concerns and then respond, rather than react, to them. The difference between your response and reaction often stems from the amount and type of emotion involved.

When you choose to respond after listening, your knee-jerk reaction will be softened.

And lastly, another powerful tool to utilize is to pause and attempt to see the world through the other person's eyes.

Your friends may interpret you passing on the weekend hangout spots as a sign that you're going to leave them behind, as opposed to you merely attempting to work on your personal development.

4. Work-Related Stress

What makes work stress one of the most formidable types of chronic stress is that it can follow you everywhere. You're home, but you can't relax because you're either worked up from the day or anxious about what's to come.

The first step to handling work stress is to have a mental brain dump by writing down all your work stressors. Once you write them all out, identify the big rocks. The big rock stressors are things that, if handled, will provide the biggest ROI toward alleviating your stress.

After you track your stressors, take notes of your default patterns of reaction to those stressors. Next, create healthy boundaries by establishing a hard cut-off time from work emails and activities.

While stress is a part of everyday life, you don't have to let stress become your kryptonite when it comes to getting what you want. No need to hope stress magically disappears. Instead, identify the particular masks of stress and implement specific tools to handle those various masks when they inevitably sprout up in your life.

Published on: Nov 13, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.