Stress is something that everyone experiences. The amount of stress varies from person to person, day to day, minute to minute. What some may not be aware of is that there are different types of stress; good stress and bad stress. Good stress, also known as eustress, can be described as short periods of moderate stress separated by periods of rest in between. Examples of good stress are participating in a competition, applying for a promotion at work, or studying for an exam. Good stress can be beneficial to both your mental and your physical health.
Good stress can help to boost your concentration. The production of brain chemicals called neurotrophins is stimulated in stressful situations. These chemicals strengthen the connection between neurons in the brain. They have also been shown to temporarily boost memory and learning scores. Another way that stress can positively affect your mental health is by making you more resilient. Each time you are able to overcome a stressful situation, you are able to look back on this victory and remind yourself that you have overcome stress in the past and you can do it again.
In a TedTalk by Kelly McGonical, she shares that stress makes you social. The stress hormone oxytocin (also known as the “cuddle hormone”) primes you to do things that strengthen close relationships and makes you more willing to help and support the people you care about. This hormone encourages you to reach out and tell someone how you are feeling in stressful situations, and it also heightens your awareness of when someone close to you may need your help. We already know from our 2019 Wellness Survey, that people rely on spending quality time with friends and family in order to achieve wellness; not only will you be reducing your stress level by confiding in your loved ones, you’ll also be improving your overall wellness.
Mild to moderate levels of stress can also help in meeting daily challenges and deadlines. When under some pressure, people are often more motivated to complete tasks, and in some cases, it can even make you work more efficiently.
Although stress can lead to positive outcomes, too much stress for too long can have very negative affects on your well-being. Physically, too much stress can weaken your immune system and is correlated with high blood pressure. It is also directly linked to depression and anxiety, inability to concentrate, irritability and issues falling and/ or staying asleep.
If you think you are experiencing too much stress, don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend, loved one or therapist for help. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of too much stress is important to prevent more serious issues from developing.
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2. ULifeline. “Good Stress, Bad Stress.” ULifeline, 2020, www.ulifeline.org/articles/450-good-stress-bad-stress
3. MacMillan, Amanda. “5 Weird Ways Stress Can Actually Be Good for You.” Health.com, 18 Aug. 2014, www.health.com/condition/stress/5-weird-ways-stress-can-actually-be-good-for-you
4. Greenberg, Melanie. Ph.D . “Why Some Stress Is Good for You.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 18 Dec. 2016, www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201612/why-some-stress-is-good-you
5. Greenberg Ph.D, Melanie. “Why Some Stress Is Good for You.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 18 Dec. 2016, www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201612/why-some-stress-is-good-you
6. CBHS, Health Fund. “Healthy Stress: Adopting Healthy Stress.” Not-For-Profit Health Insurance, 29 May 2018, www.cbhs.com.au/health-well-being-blog/blog-article/2018/05/29/healthy-stress-adopting-healthy-stress
Dr. Diana Garcia
Dr. Diana Garcia has over 20 years of experience in the field of psychology. She has provided psychological and counseling services in Ontario, and the states of Pennsylvania, and Florida