Can Stress Be Good for You?
- July 14, 2020
- by Diane Duvall
We usually think of stress as something that causes distress. But not all stress is harmful. Good stress can actually boost our energy and focus, enabling us to be more productive and motivating us to reach our goals. Think of a time when company was on their way to your house. Good stress would be feeling motivated to get the house in order. Bad stress would be feeling overwhelmed with too much to do and worrying about having everything perfect for your guests. While stress can affect everyone differently, it is important to find balance because chronic, long term stress can cause anxiety and serious health problems.
Stress is a term used to describe the physiological and emotional reactions our body experiences in response to everyday thoughts, events, and pressures. It’s not the event or situation that creates the stress. It’s how we emotionally respond to an event that can impact our body, mind and spirit. Whether we experience good stress or bad stress is determined by how we feel about an event or situation. The stress of life challenges and events can be good when it helps us to grow and build resilience within us. Think of the challenge of learning new skills during a career change, planning a wedding, a vacation or starting a new relationship. Good stress is important because it enables us to become stronger and stand firm in life. We are not trying to avoid all stress. It is an important part of life and is needed to thrive and grow.
When we feel burdened by the events in our life it is important to find balance. If we do not manage stress it can become chronic and toxic to our mind and body. Your mind and body will give you signs when you are struggling with too much stress. Some warning signs may include:
- Being easily bothered or overwhelmed by little things
- Feeling exhausted or fatigued
- Changes in appetite
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Consistent negative thinking
- Headaches, feeling unwell
- Feeling worn down, losing your lust for life
Tips for Managing Stress:
Follow a healthy lifestyle.
Invest in your physical well-being to strengthen your body to adapt to all levels of stress. It is important to get adequate rest, nourish your body with healthy foods and exercise daily.
Balance your energy
We all experience a lot of little annoyances and energy drains throughout the day. It is important to continually reset our mind and body to harness our energy and not deplete it. Resilience, optimal performance, happiness and health are strengthened through managing our energy expenditures and renewing our energy. Use calming or positive emotions to renew energy. Take breaks throughout the day to walk in nature, laugh, journal, practice meditation, prayer or deep heart-centered breathing.
We can’t say ‘yes’ to everything. We must have boundaries and enhance self-care to manage stress and avoid burnout. Practice mindfulness, stay in tune with your body and ask yourself at any given time, “how am I feeling?” Establishing boundaries is an act of self-care and is not selfish. Have you flown in an airplane and been instructed by a flight attendant to put your own oxygen mask on first in case of any emergency before you try to help others with theirs? This exemplifies the idea that we cannot take care of our responsibilities or help others if we have neglected to take care of ourselves first.
Seek out social support.
Spend time with those you enjoy. Developing healthy relationships will provide comfort and support in good and tough times. Prioritize spending meaningful time with those that you care about. Connect with friends and family via FaceTime, Zoom or the phone when you can’t be together in person.
Good and bad stress are a part of life. What matters most is finding balance to maintain a healthy level of stress and preventing stress overload. Speak to your health care practitioner if you feel you need help to better handle your stress.
Diane Duvall, Life Coach and Certified Health Coach for the Lifestyle Medicine Practice of Dr. Geni Abraham, Board Certified, American Board of Internal Medicine. Our Internal Medicine Practice is an integrated medical practice with a focus on Lifestyle Medicine. We offer health coaching sessions to help you reach your personal goals. Dr. Geni Abraham, Medical Specialists of the Palm Beaches, Inc., 205 JFK Drive, Atlantis FL 33462.
Phone: (561) 432-8935, Visit DrGeniAbraham.com and Follow us on Facebook