We all know how detrimental stress is to overall health. It leads to all sorts of unwelcome consequences like the loss of sleep, high blood pressure, and excessive weight. Anyway, there are lots of people around who go on with their lives in spite of the pall of stress hanging over their heads. We can’t very well get rid of stress, even if it’s all right for the time being, we may be stricken the next moment. Yet we get along somehow.
The fact is, there is stress and stress. Although there are differences, we usually feel that we are frayed and downcast, and think that life has turned its seamy side on us. The very idea that stress can be advantageous for health sounds weird – and yet there is the truth behind this assertion.
Stress can be good or bad
It’s perfectly true that stress can be „good“ (such kind is known as „eustress“ in psychological argot). Every time excitement rushes in, we begin to feel stressed. The hormones go wild, the pulse accelerates, but nothing is threatening or fearsome. On the contrary, the excitement can be brought about by pleasant experiences and make us feeling on top of the world and living a full life.
A fiercer kind of stress is a different matter. Stress can be caused by something that occurs out of the blue sky and demands a quick response. As such occurrences trigger inner stress responses, they often come as highly unwelcome or even menacing. That is „bad stress,“ a situation that most of us will regard as definitely stressful. If we manage to solve the situation quickly enough and leave it behind, we can shake off fierce stress with ease. As soon as we are past the stressful factor and have recovered, we are all right.
Recurring bad stress can turn to chronic stress. If a stressor keeps repeating itself and you begin to feel it is inevitable (probably because it is connected with problems at home or conditions at work), the situation becomes very grave. The body wasn’t actually made to stand continuous stress, so emotional and physical effects began to develop and grow worse as the stressful span goes on.
Stress influences motivation
When you experience just a bit of stress, like a tightish deadline, it can fire you up and enable you to do your work faster than usual. But as stress strengthens and grows on you, motivation is more likely to dwindle.
A little stress stimulates growth and bolsters resilience
Before stress becomes crushing, it actually provides a stronger drive to find solutions to problems, conducing to raising self-confidence as well as sharpening skills which help get along and pave the way to new experiences. Feeling that their resilience and self-confidence can be relied upon, people begin to believe they wield more control over their current situations.
Stress is linked to bonding
Strange though it may sound, stress (in a moderate amount) can be good for establishing relationships with people. Now, this is important because healthy social connections produce a beneficial influence on the individual’s overall health and protect them from developing various health issues. Surrounded by people who are friendly, understanding, and caring, the individual doesn’t feel alone and is less susceptible to depression.
A meaningful life is also supposed to include stress
We mustn’t think that we could live better if it wasn’t for stress. The life goals we set are often difficult, require strenuous effort, and are accompanied by stress. Getting rid of stress means doing away with meaningful achievements that make up our lives.
When stress gets too intense
It’s not always easy, though, to tell good and bad stresses apart. When stress stops being beneficial and begins to overwhelm? Your body will show certain signs when it bends under acute stress. Be on the lookout for the following symptoms:
- Difficulty or failure to concentrate for long
- Failure to meet deadlines and complete tasks
- You become a victim of frequent colds
- Aches appear in different parts of the body
- Autoimmune diseases and other ailments activate
- Headaches become more often
- You get more irritable without good reasons
- Inability to go to sleep quickly or stay awake
- Your appetite grows stronger or, on the contrary, weaker
- You are often anxious and/or angry
Can bad stress turn to good stress?
Bad stress is not usually bound to become good stress, but you have at your service a few techniques through which you can shift your viewpoint and achieve a different approach to the factors that trigger stress. To effect this, try the following:
- Ponder on your abilities and resources that enable you to accomplish current tasks
- Discover potential advantages in any situation you find yourself in
- Take stock of your strong points related to the situation
- Maintain positive thinking, teach yourself a habit of expecting optimistic outcomes
If you insist on regarding threatening circumstances and demanding situations as challenges, the habit will grow on you, it will become your natural mindset, and stress will be more beneficial for your physical and mental health.