We often talk about coping with stress as being a bad thing. But at times stress is good for us. Have you ever noticed how productive you can be when you feel a sense of urgency for yourself to get things done?
Stress has certainly earned its bad reputation. Too much of it causes all sorts of bad things, such as headaches, stomach pain, high blood pressure, insomnia, and a load more ailments and all sorts of ill health.
Yet there is also an unheralded upside to stress. In small, controlled doses, adrenaline and other “fight or flight” hormones improve performance and seem to even protect health. They increase alertness and motivate you to get things done by quickening your heartbeat, improving blood flow to the brain, and enhancing vision and hearing. And in small amounts, studies suggest, they boost the immune system.
The stress response—the body’s hormonal reaction to danger, uncertainty or change—evolved to help us survive, and if we learn how to keep it from overrunning our lives, it can do exactly that. In the short term, it can energize us, revving up our systems to handle what we have to deal with. Stress can motivate us to do better at jobs we care about.
So, I’m here to tell you today, that stress is good for you. Yes to much of it can certainly cause bad health and eventually illness and this is where coping with stress is crucial, but when properly managed, stress can actually be very good for you.
So-called “good stress” otherwise referred to as “eustress,” is the type of stress we feel when we feel excited. Our pulse quickens, our hormones change, but there is no threat or fear. We feel this type of stress when we ride a roller coaster, chase a promotion at woirk, or go on a first date. There are many triggers for this good stress, and it keeps us feeling alive and excited about life.
Eustress is actually important for us to have in our lives. It’s the type of ‘positive’ stress that keeps us vital and excited about life. Without it, we would become bored and perhaps feel a lack of meaning in life. Not striving for goals, not overcoming challenges, not having a reason to wake up in the morning would be damaging to us, so eustress is considered ‘good’ stress. It keeps us healthy and happy.
Eustress also reminds us that we can view many of the stressors in our lives as ‘challenges’ rather than ‘threats’, and have extra vital energy to handle these stressors, without a feeling of being overwhelmed or unhappy.
Sure, serious job stress can be unhealthy-even debilitating-but the kind of stress that keeps you on your toes in your professional environment may be good for your career and your life. An optimal level of stress and anxiety keeps you energized, focused and motivated. So far from being something we need to eliminate from our lives, good stress stimulates us.
We may talk about cutting the stress from our lives, but we need those precious, powerful fight-or-flight hormones our bodies produce when we’re crossing a busy road, or stopping our child from stepping into the road in front of a car.
When the brain perceives physical or psychological stress, it starts pumping the chemicals cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine into the body. Instantly, the heart beats faster, blood pressure increases, senses sharpen, a rise in blood glucose invigorates us and we’re ready to rock. Or leap away from the car.
Just remember we have to limit stress to small doses and trigger our relaxation response. You can control your stress levels with relaxation techniques that evoke the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the stress response. Regularly practicing these techniques will build your physical and emotional resilience, heal your body, and boost your overall feelings of joy and equanimity.
So you need stress to a certain degree but you must avoid letting it take control of you. Managing stress is all about taking charge: taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun – plus the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on.
So don’t let me hear you bad mouth stress again. Stress isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s absolutely necessary to becoming more efficient, productive, and effective. The key is managing stress in such a way that it helps you grow and improve, but doesn’t impact your work, life, or health negatively.
If stress keeps getting the better of you schedule your free coaching session today, get unstuck, end your stress, and start living your life the right way. This will cost you absolutely nothing, but I do assure you it will help you immensely. There’s no trick or catch, I want to help you, and I know 30 minutes, even though a tiny fraction of time, will help motivate you.