Stress: When is it good for you?

Stress is generally seen as a negative influence in our lives and something that should be avoided. Stress can be detrimental to our mental and physical health and make challenges in life seem overwhelming.

Stress can be beneficial in certain situations.

What is Stress?

Stress is your body’s response to any challenge or demand. Your body releases adrenaline and cortisol when your stress response is active. This can increase your heart rate, blood-pressure, and energy. The “fight or flee” response is a good thing in some situations.

This response can be harmful to the body if it is activated too often or for long periods of time. The “fight or flee” response was not designed to be activated constantly. Stress causes your body’s energy and resources to be diverted from less-essential or non-emergency systems (such digestion, healing and sleep) to functions that are more urgently needed (like preparing your arm and legs to fight or flee, and fueling the brain to concentrate and think quickly). If stress is prolonged, these peripheral systems can be damaged.

Chronic Stress is associated with many health problems , such as obesity, anxiety and depression, heart disease dementia, sleep disorders, weakened immunity function, and insomnia.

Stress Types

It may be helpful to think of stress in terms of acute or chronic stress.

Acute stress is a short-term form of stress triggered by an event or circumstance. Chronic stress is a long-term form of stress caused by persistent and ongoing challenges.

Stress can be classified based on how it is managed and dealt with. Stress is something that everyone experiences to a certain degree. Stress is a part of life. It’s a natural part of growing up, making a living and maintaining relationships.

An individual who has learned healthy ways to deal with stress is better able than most to handle the demands of life without feeling overwhelmed.

Stress is especially harmful if it’s not acknowledged, managed, or handled in an unhealthy way (such as with alcohol or drugs, violent outbursts or self-harm).

Good Stress

A good stress can motivate us and energize. Stress is what we feel when we’re excited, nervous or challenged to perform at our best.

A good stress level can improve our performance and help us achieve our goals. Stress can also make us feel more alive, engaged and motivated in our lives.

Examples for good stress include:

* Anxiety before performances: Nervousness and excitement can help you focus and perform at your best.

Exercise can be a stressor on our body, which is good for both physical and mental well-being. Stress on the muscles stimulates tissue growth, which leads to improved blood circulation and increased strength.

* Meeting deadlines: Pressure to meet deadlines can motivate us to work harder and focus on the task at hand.

* A new challenge. Taking on a challenge can be challenging, but can also be exciting. It is an opportunity to learn new ways of feeling, thinking and acting.

* A new relationship. The beginning stages of any relationship can be accompanied by intense emotions. This stress can inspire us to improve ourselves and connect at a deeper level.

How to manage stress

There are many ways to deal with stress in a healthy manner. Here are some tips:

Regular exercise can reduce stress and improve your overall health. At least 20-30 minutes per day of moderate intensity exercise is recommended.

* Get enough rest: A lack of sleep can lead to increased stress, so you should get enough sleep. Aim to sleep 7-9 hours per night.

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, Yoga, and progressive muscular relaxation are all effective in reducing stress.

* Be creative. Try art-related activities such as painting, writing, music or dancing. It can be very relaxing and therapeutic. The creative process can be a way to express, transform, and understand your emotions and thoughts.

* Spend some time in nature. Take a walk in the woods or sit on a park bench. Watch the birds flying around. Listen to nature’s sounds. Natural environments are a great way to relax and unwind from your daily stresses.

* Ask for support. Talking with a family member, friend or therapist will help reduce stress.

Stress can be good for you if it’s short-term and acknowledged. It should also be managed in a healthy and safe way.

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