June 13, 2019

Feeling Stressed?

by Nathan Mellor, Ed. D.

According to the American Psychological Association (apa.org), there are three primary types of stress. They include: 1) Acute, 2) Episodic Acute and 3) Chronic Stress.

In the minds of many, the concept of being able to “withstand stress and do my best”, means having the ability to remain stoic in tough times, it is the presence of mind to keep moving forward without complaint when life is challenging. While there are times when this concept of endurance may be accurate with some stressors; there are other times when this approach is counterproductive. This is why understanding the types of stress can be helpful in making wise choices. Ironically, the “inner strength” needed to press on in challenging times is the same inner strength needed to recognize that doing “my best” may require choosing a different path, slowing down or making peace with what cannot or will not be.

Acute Stress is the most common. We experience this type of stress when we feel overwhelmed by deadlines, the loss of a key account, problems at home, etc. Because this stress is short-term, the effects on us also tend to be temporary. We may experience headaches, back pain, stomach problems, or elevated blood pressure. Talking to a friend or counselor can help us deal with this type of stress but if it persists for more than a month, it could be important to receive help from a professional

Episodic Acute Stress is often dismissed as “having a Type A personality” or “having a lot of energy.” Those with Episodic Acute Stress can feel overwhelmed by their schedule. They tend to take on too much work, constantly worry, and struggle to find relief from extended periods of acute stress. Instead of seeking help, it is common for people enduring this type of stress to blame others for their challenges. They are likely to experience things such as chest pain, hypertension, persistent tension headaches and heart disease. To combat this way of thinking and to help people do their best, leaders must be willing to model the behavior they expect from others such as taking time off or seeking help. One company I appreciate makes it clear to employees that working extraordinarily long hours may actually negatively impact your consideration for promotion. They make it clear that employees’ families are important and do not want to create a culture that makes them have to choose between work and family.

The final type of stress is Chronic Stress. Chronic stress is when the pressures and demands of life are so great and so persistent that people give up hoping things will ever get better.  In many cases, this type of stress begins in childhood and the person affected by it becomes so accustomed to it they are often unaware of its impact on their life. As a result, they are left more vulnerable to suicide, stroke, and heart attack – and in some cases cancer. The good news is there is hope for a better path forward through medical treatment and stress management.

Endurance is not simply ignoring stress. It requires working through it and finding better solutions moving forward. As a leader, it can take great inner strength to be more open about the stressors in your own life, but by doing so, you are likely giving hope to others about their own situation.

Nathan Mellor, Ed. D.


A thought-leader, two-time TEDx speaker, author, and CEO of Strata Leadership, Dr. Mellor is an experienced executive coach who has provided over 3,000 coaching sessions for executive leaders. He serves as a sounding board, thought partner, and a source of encouragement for leaders seeking to maximize their effectiveness.

Since its founding in 2009, Strata Leadership has pursued its mission of “Elevating Life at Work.” Each year, the professionals at Strata Leadership provide character and competence-based talent development services for hundreds of clients (non-profits, for-profits, educational institutions, and governmental agencies) throughout the United States and abroad.

In pursuit of educational, humanitarian, and religious interests, Nathan has studied or taught in Australia, Belize, China, England, Guyana, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Russia, and Rwanda. He is passionate about developing future leaders and is the co-founder of the Presidential Leadership Institute, hosted on the campus of York College, in collaboration with the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. He is an adjunct professor for graduate programs at York College and Oklahoma Baptist University. He is the chairperson for the Strata Center for Workplace Coaching and the co-founder of the Institute for Emerging Leaders. He is the past Chairperson of the Oklahoma Business Ethics Consortium.

Dr. Mellor earned the Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership degree from Pepperdine University, where he was a Colleagues Grant recipient. He earned the Master of Dispute Resolution degree from the prestigious Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law, where he was named a Straus Fellow. He earned the Master of Science in Education degree from Harding University while serving as the Graduate Assistant to the University President. He earned the Bachelor of Arts from Harding University, where he was elected Student Association President. Dr. Mellor has pursued postdoctoral studies through the College of Executive Coaching.

Dr. Mellor was recognized as the Executive Pilot Award recipient in 2018, the highest individual honor bestowed by the Oklahoma Ethics Business Consortium. In 2021, he was named by the Oklahoma Journal Record as one of Oklahoma’s Most Admired CEOs. He is a fellow with the Institute of Coaching, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School Affiliate, and a member of the International Coaching Federation.

His book, "Sleeping Giants: Authentic Stories and Insights For Building A Life That Matters" is available via Monocle Press, Amazon, and Audible. He also hosts the podcast, “The Strata Leadership Show.”

Nathan lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with his wife and two daughters.


Speaking Themes:



Speaking Topics:

Shared Mental Models-Managing for Success
Everyone has a mental model. It is the lens through which we process the world. As a leader, it is crucial to understand how mental models are shaped and formed to be able to build team unity. In this presentation, we will consider how to build a culture of respect and consistency at work. The program focuses on enhancing communication, positive reinforcement of values and addressing the root of behaviors that undermine unhealthy teams.

Everything Speaks
A core concept that helped guide and shape the creations of Walt Disney was his belief that “Everything Speaks.” Using this mindset as a source of inspiration, Dr. Mellor explores how the contributions of every person in an organization matter. He also explores how our words and actions speak volumes. Drawing upon real life examples and relevant data, it is the perfect presentation for energizing teams and building morale.  (Communication, Ethics, Leadership, Motivation/Inspiration)

Stepping Down to Greatness
The success of a leader is dictated by the success of those they are leading. A leader cannot be successful if the people they are leading are not successful. Through this program, Dr. Mellor provides inspiring stories and research that engages the heart and mind. (Ethics, Leadership, Motivation/Inspiration)

Built to Win
The difference between a winning season and a winning program is consistency. In this positive, insightful and inspiring program, Dr. Mellor provides a practical roadmap for leaders seeking to take their organizations to the next level.  (Ethics, Leadership, Motivation/Inspiration)

We live in a world of distractions. Through this program, Dr. Mellor explores how breakthroughs in the world of neuroscience are providing meaningful insights into how to train the brain for focus. The program is a breakthrough event that is extremely engaging and practical. Applicable to all, the content can be applied instantly and is a crowd favorite. (Leadership, Motivation/Inspiration)

Innovate to Accelerate
Do you feel like your organization is headed in the right direction, but needs to change its pace? Through this session, Dr. Nathan Mellor walks leaders through how to increase productivity by enhancing your organization's ability to accelerate the learning process. If you are looking for inspiration and practical insights gained by working behind the scenes with innovative leaders and companies, this program can help you reach your goals. (Leadership, Motivation/Inspiration)

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Connect with Nathan Mellor, Ed.D. on LinkedIn.