Three out of four people say that they’re under moderate to severe stress at least twice a month, while most people face mild stresses on a daily basis. You’ve probably heard that chronic stress is bad for you, leading to high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, heart disease or even stroke. However, stress can actually be good for you and make you stronger if it’s handled correctly.
Types Of Stress
You’ll need to understand the different levels of stress and what types of stress are good and which are bad. Without any stress at all life becomes boring, there are no challenges or excitement, and you’ll never reach your full potential. When there’s too much stress that’s piled on you though it can lead to mental, emotional and physical problems and also change your behavior. Excessive stress can lead to depression, anger problems, or even drug and alcohol addiction.
This is the type of stress you might feel before a test, job interview, first date, or presentation. Here you’ll find that, when managed correctly, short-term stress can give you the incentive you need to excel and perform to your best ability. Short-term stress can be exciting or nerve-wracking, though either way it’s usually soon over.
This type of stress is chronic, affecting you daily or several times a week. This may be constant worry about a relationship, your job, or school. It could be frustration due to a boss who’s never satisfied, car problems, overdue bills, arguments with your spouse, or friction with your children. Alone or in any combination, these bigger, long-term stress factors can lead to major health problems over time if not taken care of.
We Always Have Some Stress
From the moment we’re born we’re faced with varying levels of stress. When you were a baby you cried if you were hungry, tired or needed changing. You voiced your stress and a caring adult would hopefully take care of your needs. When you were a child you faced the stress of homework and passing tests at school, and doing household chores. As a teen and young adult you went through more schooling and higher levels of stress as you prepared for your vocation, dealt with relationships, and other factors.
Once you’re out of school you get a job, get married, have kids, perhaps purchase a home and vehicle, and these all have varying degrees of stress related to them. At times the stress can be worse than others especially if you find yourself unemployed, have financial problems or marriage issues.
When you get older you eventually retire, encounter health issues due to aging, may have financial problems, and perhaps lose a spouse and find yourself alone.
The simple fact is we can never really get away from the stress of living. It’s how you handle all of this stress and the decisions you make along the way that determine whether your stress kills you or makes you stronger.
When under stress many chemical changes take place, helping your body to prepare itself for what awaits. It’s a natural response that has helped us survive as a species. However, uncontrolled negative stress causes you to feel chronically angry, anxious and afraid. Good stress helps you feel alive, excited, and eager. All stress—good or bad—is your body’s way of preparing to flee or fight.
The first step in taking bad stress that can kill you and turning it around to good stress that makes you stronger is to recognize when you’re stressed and managing it right away.
Although it’s nice to imagine a life that’s calm, peaceful and stress-free, you really don’t want to avoid stress. Instead, you need to learn how to handle it so that it’s a positive thing and not a negative. So often when we’re facing problems we worry instead of wonder. We say, “Why me? Why now?” when instead we should ask, “How can I overcome this?”
How Stress Helps You
Good stress is something you want since it can help you, your family, and society. When you have positive stress in your life you can give your best, overcome challenges, find solutions, and meet or exceed your expectations. Positive stress is what propels you to make better choices in life such as getting a degree so you can have a better job, taking your children to the doctor if they’re sick or injured, and motivates you to overcome your bad habits. Good stress is what causes societies to make laws and follow rules.
Looking at things this way you can see why it’s better for us to have some stress in our lives. Only when you allow it to get out of hand by ignoring problems or staying in negative situations will it hurt you.
Handling Stress Better
Many people are in a situation where there’s so much stress it’s crushing them. This is due to faulty ways of thinking and bad choices. The good news is you can always make better choices so that your stress levels are reduced and you can turn your life around.
Perhaps you need to say no more often, go back to school so you can get a better paying job in a field you find interesting, budget your finances, get out of a negative relationship, overcome an addiction, or take better care of your health.
You may also find it helpful to follow a regular exercise program such as running or yoga. Meditation and relaxation exercises are also beneficial in relieving stress and its effects on the mind and body.
It’s as simple as making choices that can help move you forward rather than holding you down or pushing you backward. Life doesn’t have to be filled with negative stress that harms you. Instead, by working on how you manage the stress in your life and taking appropriate actions as soon as possible, you can become stronger, healthier, and happier.