Feeling stressed can feel perfectly normal, You might notice that sometimes being stressed-out motivates you to focus on your work, yet at other times, you feel incredibly overwhelmed and can’t concentrate on anything. While stress affects everyone in different ways, there are two major types of stress: stress that’s beneficial and motivating — good stress — and stress that causes anxiety and even health problems — bad stress. Here’s more on the benefits and side effects of stress and how to tell if you’re experiencing too much stress.
Benefit of Stress
According to experts, stress is a burst of energy that advises you on what to do. In small doses, stress has many advantages. For instance, stress can help you meet daily challenges and motivates you to reach your goals. Stress can help you accomplish tasks more efficiently. It can even boost memory.
Stress is also a vital warning system, producing a fight-or-flight response. When the brain perceives some kind of stress, it starts flooding the body with chemicals like epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol. This creates a variety of reactions such as an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Plus, the senses suddenly have a laser-like focus so you can avoid physically stressful situations — such as jumping away from a moving car — and be safe.
Also, there are various health benefits with a little bit of stress. Researchers believe that some stress can help to fortify the immune system. For instance, stress can improve how your heart works and protect your body from infection. In one study, individuals who experienced moderate levels of stress before surgery were able to recover faster than individuals who had low or high levels.
Side Effects of Stress
Stress is key for survival, but too much stress can be detrimental. Emotional stress that stays around for weeks or months can weaken the immune system and cause high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and even heart disease. In particular, too much epinephrine can be harmful to your heart. It can change the arteries and how their cells can regenerate.
Signals of Too Much Stress
It may be tough to tell when you’re experiencing good or bad stress, but there are important ways that your body lets you know that you’re struggling with too much stress. Watch out for the following warning signs:
• Inability to concentrate or complete tasks
• Get sick more often with colds
• Body aches
• Other illnesses like autoimmune diseases flare-up
• Trouble falling sleeping or staying awake
• Changes in appetite
• More angry or anxious than usual
Research shows that early experiences of trauma can disrupt the brain’s stress response, affecting the amygdala (the brain’s alarm system), hippocampus (verbal memory center), prefrontal cortex (the CEO of the brain and its stress regulator). These changes make people with too much early trauma more chemically reactive to stress, in general, as a teenager or adult. It’s as if these early negative experiences feed our reactions to current stress.
That being said, we all know some pretty successful and happy people who have experienced difficult childhoods—perhaps having an alcoholic parent, being adopted, or losing a parent. This raises the question of whether experiencing some stress can make us mentally tougher.
Is Some Stress Good for Us?
Some researchers have suggested that exposure to a moderate level of stress that you can master can make you stronger and better able to manage stress. It’s like how a vaccine, which contains a tiny amount of the bug, can immunize you against getting the disease.
Richard Dienstbier’s (1989) theory of mental toughness suggests that experiencing some manageable stress, with recovery in between, can make us more mentally and physically tough and less reactive to future stress. One possibility is that such experiences lead us to view stress as more manageable and become more skillful at dealing with them.
Some studies by Professor Seery and colleagues at UCLA seem to bear this out. They followed a national sample of subjects for several years, assessing how much stress they had experienced in their lives, their recent stress, any mental health factors, and their overall life satisfaction. The researchers found that:
“People with a history of some lifetime adversity reported better mental health and well-being outcomes than not only people with a high history of adversity but also than people with no history of adversity.”
People with a lot of lifetime trauma had the worst mental and physical health, but those with a history of some (greater than zero) adverse life events were less distressed, had less disability, fewer post-traumatic stress symptoms, and higher life satisfaction over time than those with no negative life events. Importantly, people who had experienced a bit of adversity were the least affected by recent stressful life events. The researchers concluded that:
“In moderation, whatever does not kill us may indeed make us stronger.”
What About Chronic Pain Patients?
But was this just a freak result that may have had something to do with the particular sample they used?
It turns out this was not the case. The researchers found support for the benefits of a little adversity in a sample of chronic low back pain patients as well. In a study of over 400 such patients (Seery, Leo, Holman & Silver, 2010), participants with the highest levels of adverse life events were the sickest and disabled overall. But there was also a similar pattern to the previous study.
In other words, those with some (greater than zero) lifetime experience of adverse life events reported less disability and used the healthcare system less often than those with no adversity.
Why Does Experiencing (Moderate) Stress Make Us Tougher?
The results of these studies suggest that some history of experiencing stress might be good for us, perhaps because this makes us less reactive to our current life events.
Here are some possible reasons why:
Perhaps experiencing a bit of stress make us hardier and better able to tolerate and adapt to life’s difficulties.
Going through a moderate stress condition (like relocating or breaking a limb) may help us learn new skills (like sociability or patience) we can apply in later life.
We may gain confidence in managing stress. (“If I can do this, I can do the next difficult thing.”)
We may be less likely to fear change. For example, we may learn that it’s okay to leave a toxic relationship or a bad job and that we can survive and even thrive afterward.
We may adopt a more positive attitude towards stress in general, knowing how it may have helped us grow. Research shows that seeing you are stressed could be a growth opportunity that helps you perform better both in stressful laboratory tasks (like public speaking) and in stressful jobs (like sales).
People who report never experiencing any stress may be too averse to taking reasonable risks, making them less likely to reach their goals in life and relationships.
Not all stress is the same. Some of the stress that we face in life can be more detrimental to our well-being, and some types of stress can be healthy for us. For example, chronic stress—the type of stress that seems to be constant and psychologically or emotionally draining—is the most harmful to our health and well being. This kind of chronic stress can trigger the stress response and keep it triggered for long periods, leaving us exhausted and close to burnout.
Another type of stress is acute stress. It comes from quick surprises that need a response. Acute stress triggers the body’s stress response as well, but the triggers aren’t always happy and exciting. This is what we normally think of as “stress” (or “bad stress”). Acute stress in itself doesn’t take a heavy toll if we find ways to relax quickly. Once the stress has been dealt with, we need to return our body to homeostasis, or its Pre-stress state, to be healthy and happy.
Overall, it’s important to have good stress in your life. Make an effort to cut out as much chronic stress as possible. Change your perception of stress where you can, and add positive activities to promote eustress. Together, these strategies help you create a healthy balance in your life.
How Bad Stress Can Become Good Stress
Not all forms of bad stress can become good stress, but it is possible to change your perception of some of the stress causing factors in your life. This shift can change your experience of stress.
The body’s stress response reacts strongly to perceived threats. If you don’t perceive something as a threat, there is generally no threat-based stress response. If you perceive something as a challenge instead, the fear you would normally experience may turn into excitement and anticipation, or at least resolve. You can often make the shift in perception by: 1
Focusing on the resources you have to meet the challenge
Seeing the potential benefits of a situation
Reminding yourself of your strengths
Having a positive mindset (getting into the habit of thinking like an optimist)
As you practice looking at threats as challenges more often, it becomes more automatic, and you experience more good stress and less bad stress.
What You Can Do?
Stress is an inevitable part of life, but you can improve the way you respond to stress and avoid or change some of the situations that create negative stress, Several solutions are available for stress relieve without the need for Medicine in our product store, take a peek today and see which suits your need. And Don’t forget to ask for you first-time purchase coupon on discovery of the perfect product for you. To do so simply leave us a message.
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