Stress gets so much flak these days. It sounds so negative because it’s usually associated with bad feelings, headaches and dozens of physical, emotional and mental concerns. What people don’t know is that it’s actually good for our bodies. Imagine how your life will look like without stress. It looks boring, doesn’t it? If you don’t have any stress in your life then you’ll get bored and not live up to your potential at all. So why is stress linked with so much negative feedback?
It’s because too much of everything is bad for you according to that age-old adage. Stress in large and overwhelming proportions will eventually wear your body down. But if it’s taken in small and manageable amounts then there are some benefits that can be taken from it.
There is such a thing as good stress. It can range from anticipating an event, fear of a horror film or winning the lottery… It’s easy to understand. Many of our activities place us under pressure and thus we are under stress while performing them but we are wholeheartedly choosing them with our minds and subconscious minds. There is no conflict because we enjoy the experience. It improves our quality of life.
How do you know that you’ve got good stress running in your system? Easy! Your pulse quickens up and your hormones change but it’s not because of fear. This is the type of stress that we get when we ride a rollercoaster, confess to an unrequited love or even gun for a promotion! Those are simply examples. Without these triggers, we would have a boring life. It’s what makes our lives exciting and fun! But too much of a good thing is bad for you too. It’s because stress responses is triggered either way so chronic stress (or other stressors) can have a cumulative effect. You’ll have lots of stress. That’s why you have to be in tune with yourself and your body to know when you’ve had too much.
Unfortunately, we also have bad stress that worsens our lives. Bad stress is an agonizing ache regarding a serious matter that ends up worrying you too much. Chronic stress is not something to be laughed at. It’s a serious condition that leads to a weakened immune system, ulcer, high blood pressure and aging rapidly. It drains your energy levels and affects your ability to perform well.
It’s not widely known but long-term stress can produce a lasting, low-level impact on people’s lives. Our nervous system senses continuous pressure and may remain activated so it will continue to pump extra stress hormones over an extended period of time. That’s not good! It will wear out your nerves and it might leave you feeling depleted or overwhelmed. That will weaken your immune system and cause other problems to erupt in your body.
Therefore, understanding your stress level is very important. Recognizing when you are stressed and managing it can improve your life. Bad stress can be avoided by simply asking you if it’s really worth it. Since we already talked about the possibility that good stress can become bad stress, you must know that it can also be done vice versa. You can shift your perception by focusing more on your resources, seeing the beneficial side of the situation and reminding yourself of your established strengths. Think like an optimist! Once you start looking at things as challenges, it becomes an automatic habit.
What if you want to keep stress under control? How do you avoid it in the first place? Have no fear! A helpful method in dealing with stress is how to manage it whether it’s good or bad. You must learn to use this regularly, even when the pressure cooker is not on. A really helpful tip is to avoid over-scheduling of activities. (Stick to what’s important to you!) You must also be realistic because let’s face it. Nobody’s perfect so if you need some help, ask for it! There’s another good way to avoid stress altogether: get a good night’s sleep! Your body will thank you for it because it’s a great way to keep yourself in optimum health. There are so many little ways to cut stress and it’s up to you on how to use it to your advantage.
Stress is not such a bad thing. You still need good stress in your life. You must make an effort to reduce chronic stress and to change your perception towards stress in general. Promote good stress in your life by looking at the positive side and eliminating the useless little stressors. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Remember, everything must be done in moderation.