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The stress continuum chart

What Color Are You? The Stress Continuum

While the headlines often focus on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a relatively small percentage of people will have an actual diagnosis of PTSD. On the other hand, everyone will experience some degree of stress on a day-to-day basis, and in response to traumatic events. The Stress Continuum is an easy way for all of us to understand the impact of stress and how we can reach out to someone who may be struggling.

Developed by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, and adapted for use here in Arizona by the National Guard and Arizona Coalition for Military Families, the Stress Continuum uses a system of colors to identify different stress zones and potential resources that might be helpful. This simple system creates a shared language that is non-clinical and carries less stigma (it’s easier to say “you seem a little orange today” than “you look like you may be developing PTSD…”).