Good Stress Bad Stress

Good Stress versus Bad Stress: What’s the Difference?

For most of us, stress is like a four letter word…that extras” seems like it was added as if to emphasize the “s” in stress.

It worked.

Stress can be sapping, straining, and severely strenuous – and we’re all familiar with its detrimental effects. But we need to know it for what it really is – bad stress.

Stress. Does it Help…or Hurt?

Believe it or not, there is good stress.

It’s called eustress. And we all need that in life. It motivates us to be productive and happy. It’s learning how to balance the bad stress with the good stress that determines how successful, healthy and satisfying our lives will be.

Stress is like spice – in the right proportion it enhances the flavor of a dish. Too little produces a bland, dull meal; too much may choke you.”
~Donald Tubesing

Good stress can be a huge motivator, driving us to achieve what we want in life. Of course, it has positive effects. Job promotions, successfully accomplishing goals, looking forward to and planning a vacation, or starting your own business are all stressful, but it’s good stress.

Eustress can even strengthen your immune system. It can actually release beneficial chemicals into the bloodstream. Pretty interesting, huh?

So what’s wrong with a little stress? When tension mounts and we see our circumstance as being unmanageable with no clear way out, good stress turns bad. Fast.

How Do You Know You’re in Distress?Good Stress Bad Stress

The World Health Organization in 1992 cited stress as a 20th century epidemic. In 1996, they called it a “worldwide epidemic”. According to attorney David J. Abeshouse, insurance claims for stress, depression, and job burnout are the fastest-growing disability category in the country.

A National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health study found that approximately 40% of workers feel pressured and stressed – so much so that they feel anxious and depressed. That leads to time off work and lost revenue. Not surprisingly, the American Institute of Stress cites 60% of visits to the doctor’s office were from stress-related complaints.

Harvard Associate Professor of Medicine Herbert Benson, founder of the Mind/Body Medical Institute in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, has been studying stress for over 35 years. His work has shown that as stress increases, efficiency increases – but only up to a point. After that, performance drops off substantially.

Each person handles stress differently. Physical symptoms that can show distress are an increase in blood pressure and shallow breathing. People can exhibit loss of appetite, or even, an increase in eating, smoking and drinking. Behaviorally, arguments with spouses and children erupt more frequently. Patience is lost over trivial things.

Let’s face it. You know when you’re stressed out. You can feel it. And it’s when you feel as if life is out of control that you can be sure distress has set in.

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