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Is there really such a thing as “good stress?”

The truth is, stress is a part of everyday life, and not all of it is bad. Good stress can motivate you to get things done. Bad stress can make you feel utterly helpless, trapped, and not in control.

When is stress good?

Stress is a natural, physiological response to fear and anxiety. It’s the “fight or flight” reaction we feel when faced with conflict.

Good stress motivates you, like when you are faced with a deadline at work or when you are preparing for a competition. This kind of stress is usually short in duration, just long enough to give you the impetus to overcome an obstacle or complete a task.

For example, if you have to give a presentation or speak in front of a group, you might be nervous, even though you are the best person for the job. This is the type of stress that isn’t likely to linger beyond the event.

If a little stress helps you buckle down and meet your deadlines, it’s beneficial. Generally, you will take some time to yourself and relax a little once you’re done.

If, however, you are always scrambling to complete your projects on time despite giving yourself enough time to prepare, you may succumb to exhaustion. Your performance will eventually suffer, and you may not be able to recover quickly. This is when stress becomes harmful.

The dangers of chronic stress

If you have ongoing stress in your life, it not only prevents you from getting things done, it can lead to chronic health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, and depression.

This kind of stress can be caused by problems at home, at work, or at school. Money, work, and relationships are often the root of the problem.

In the short-term, stress might cause you to experience stomach or digestive problems, headaches, and loss of libido. You may also become sick more often and more easily. Psychologically, you may have trouble focusing on tasks or remembering things. Your closest relationships will suffer.

Coping with stress

What would our lives be without stress? You’d have no job, no friends, no bills to pay. You certainly wouldn’t be married or have any children.

Is it reasonable to think that we can leverage the good stress to our advantage and learn how to cope with the bad?

Managing stress requires the development of coping mechanisms that can help transform that energy into something more constructive or peaceful, as the case may be.

Here are some tips for managing stress:

  • Accept what you cannot change and focus instead on the things you can
  • Don’t forget to breathe. Deep breaths do a lot to calm the mind and body.
  • Stay active. Go for walks, go to the gym, or sign up for a yoga class.
  • Practice mindful meditation. Mindfulness is a great way to redirect your thoughts away from stressful events.
  • Avoid stressful situations when you can. If you find your stress level rising, step away if you can. Getting some distance will help refresh and reset your brain.

If you find yourself struggling with stress, it helps to speak to someone who understands. Reach out today to find out how to get started.