Managing your stress is a crucial part of getting things done. In stressful times, you should do things that give you a sense of control and resolve your problems. However, it is not easy to know when you are in a bad state of mind, and when you are in a good state of mind.

Stress is good for us. The human body needs stress for everything from our moods, to our immune system, and our physical and mental health. Having too much or too little stress can be problematic, but stress can also be an actually helpful tool to help us achieve our goals. However, if our lives are too stressful, we may find that we have problems like depression, anxiety, and migraines. So, is stress good, bad, or neither?

Stress is a fact of life. Everyone experiences it, and while we all have our own coping mechanisms, the good news is that stress doesn’t have to ruin your life. By understanding how you cope with stress you can learn to ensure your life is full of ‘good’ stress.. Read more about good stress examples and let us know what you think.

Stress, especially the improper kind of stress, can be harmful to our health.

Stress, on the other hand, may be a beneficial force in our life, keeping us focused, aware, and on top of our game.

It all relies on the type of stress, how prepared we are to deal with it, and how we perceive it.

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People frequently regard stress as a potentially fatal condition.

Stress, on the other hand, is a normal physiological response to situations that make you feel endangered or cause you to lose your balance in some way.

When you are in danger, whether it is physical, mental, or emotional, your defenses go into overdrive in a rapid, instinctive process known as the “fight or flight” response, also known as the stress response.

The stress reaction is your body’s attempt to keep you safe.

The stress response, when functioning properly, assists you in remaining focused, energetic, and alert. Stress can save your life or the lives of others in an emergency circumstance, providing you the extra power to lift a car off your child or prompting you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident.

You can also use the stress response to assist you overcome obstacles. Stress helps you stay focused during a professional presentation, boosts your concentration when you need it the most, and motivates you to study for an exam when you’d rather be out with your friends.

Stress, on the other hand, ceases helpful and starts harming your health, emotions, productivity, relationships, and quality of life beyond a certain point.

The allostatic load and stress

Take a piece of paper and write down anything that happens in your typical day that could cause stress to your body, mind, or emotions.

We’re guessing that your list looks something like this:

  • The boss screamed at me.
  • rushing from one client to the next
  • Having financial concerns
  • Commuting
  • Weather is dreadful.
  • Early in the morning, the kid woke me up.
  • This morning, my girlfriend/boyfriend snarled at me.
  • I believe I ate some stale shrimp salad.

With these combined life stresses, if you’re like most people, you’re a camel carrying a large load of straw.

Consider what would happen if you start heaping on more straw by obsessing about your body image, putting yourself under physical stress from your workouts, or limiting your food consumption. Eventually, something will snap.

The pile of straw that is your allostatic load is the whole of everything in your life that creates physical, mental, and/or emotional stress.

the-straw-that-almost-broke-the-camel-s-back

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There’s good stress and harmful stress.

Some stress is beneficial (also called eustress). Stress that is healthy for you pushes you out of your comfort zone in a positive way. Stress that is beneficial to you allows you to learn, grow, and become stronger.

Riding a roller coaster, for example, is thrilling and enjoyable. It only lasts a few minutes and leaves you feeling elated. (If you enjoy roller coasters, that is.)

Another helpful stress reliever is exercise. You feel a little uneasy at first, but then you feel great, and you’re done after an hour or two.

Positive arousal:

  • is only temporary
  • is not very common
  • is quickly over (in a matter of minutes or hours)
  • can play a good role in one’s life
  • motivates you to take action
  • It strengthens you and makes you a better person than you were before.

Let’s assume you ride the roller coaster every day, or you do weights for four hours every day. Doesn’t seem like it’s as much fun now, does it?

This is a sign of severe stress or distress.

Excessive stress:

  • has a long life span
  • is a chronic condition
  • is still going on
  • is gloomy, discouraging, and bad
  • You get demotivated and paralyzed as a result of it.
  • It breaks you down, leaving you in a worse situation than you were before.

One of the fundamental differences between good and bad stress is how well the stressor fits your ability to recover from it.

The “sweet spot” for stress

Because stress has so many varied effects on the mind, body, and behavior, everyone reacts to it differently.

Whether it’s physical or psychological, each of us has an own “healing zone,” which is influenced by a variety of circumstances.

The way you perceive and respond to stress is just as crucial as the stress itself.

Some people can go with the flow and adapt effectively to situations that others would consider stressful. Others crumple when confronted with even the tiniest difficulty or dissatisfaction.

There are a variety of factors that influence our stress tolerance, including:

  • Our mindset and worldview — People who have an upbeat, proactive, and positive attitude are more resistant to stress. People who see stressful events as a challenge and accept that change is a natural part of life have a much bigger recovery zone and are less stressed.
  • Our life experience – Depending on when and how severe the stress was, it can either build us up or break us down. Moderate stress, when experienced at a time when we can take it, makes us stronger and more robust. Stress, on the other hand, when it occurs at a time when we are already vulnerable (such as during childhood, or when it is compounded by other stressors), can make us worse off.
  • Our epigenetic expression and genetic makeup — Some of us are genetically more “stress prone” than others, especially when we are exposed to environmental circumstances that epigenetically “turn on” or “turn off” those critical genes. For example, one study discovered that older persons with a specific gene polymorphism suffer from serious depression only if they experienced a traumatic event as a youngster. Those who had a normal childhood and possessed the genetic mutation were well.
  • Control is a concept that we have a hard time grasping. When we feel stuck, stress becomes even more severe. We tend to recover more quickly if we are able to fight or retreat successfully. If we can’t modify the situation, we’ll move on to the next level of stress, the “freeze” response. We feel helpless, hopeless, and paralyzed at this point. If we’re “control freaks,” continuously attempting to grip, grab, and hold everything, we may become more anxious.
  • Our inherent personality type – It’s simpler to deal with difficult situations if you believe in yourself and your ability to influence events and persevere through problems. People who are more susceptible to stress often believe that they have little control over the events that occur around them. They may also be empathic, and thus feel “pushed” and “drawn” by others’ needs and desires.
  • Our network of supporters — A robust network of supporting friends and family members (including pets) can act as an effective buffer against life’s stresses. Loneliness and isolation, on the other hand, exacerbate stress.
  • Our emotional intelligence – If you can’t calm and soothe yourself when you’re anxious or too emotional, you’re more prone to stress. You will be better able to deal with difficulties if you can control your emotions.
  • Natural places (for example, the outdoors, spaces with lots of windows and natural sunlight, etc.) as well as secure and safe environments help us relax (such as your comfy living room). Noises, equipment, artificial lights, threats coming at us swiftly, and other stimuli in industrial situations agitate us and put us on edge. We also feel more at ease in situations that we believe we have control over, such as our homes; we feel more uneasy in environments that we believe we don’t have control over, such as big public spaces or most workplaces.
  • Our allostatic burden – The higher our allostatic load (i.e., the more things we’re dealing with at once), the more our resilience deteriorates and our recovery zone decreases. The way we respond to stress is crucial, yet even the most resilient and upbeat individual can succumb to the cumulative effects of excessive stress.

The “recovery zone” looks like this in general:

Good-stress-bad-stress-Finding-your-sweet-spot

Nothing will happen if the stressor is too low – not enough to produce a reaction. You’ll proceed in the same manner as previously, for better or for worse.

You’ll eventually break down if the stressor is too high — too severe and/or lasts too long, exceeding your ability to recover.

You’ll heal and get well if the stressor is inside your recovery zone — neither too much nor too little, and it doesn’t linger too long. What doesn’t kill you strengthens you!

Ensure that the demands are balanced.

We want just enough “positive stress” to keep a fire burning under our buttocks, but not too much that we burn out.

(This applies to our own exercise and diet, as well as our personal life, family lives, and general workload.)

Your allostatic load, as well as how you perceive and respond to it, determine your ideal zone. Remember, this is your stress zone, not anyone else’s.

And keep in mind that the allostatic load encompasses everything: mental, physical, and emotional: that email from the boss… that hangnail… the strange paint smell in your workplace… Everything falls into the “stress pile,” including your astronomically high phone bill. So think about it from a broad perspective.

If your current straw pile is already heavy, a few additional straws will be enough to break you. And if you consider your straw pile to be too huge and hefty, regardless of its actual size, a few more straws will be enough to shatter you.

As a result, we must do two things to control stress:

  • how to strike a healthy balance between our daily obligations, workload, and exercise/nutrition duties; and
  • Instead than seeing these tasks as an overwhelming challenge, think of them as a fascinating puzzle to tackle.

Keep an eye on your allostatic load.

You must regulate your allostatic load in order to live a healthy, productive, and satisfying life.

Here are three things you can do right now to enhance your happy hormones, engage your “relax and digest” neural system, and start building stress resilience.

  • a peaceful stroll (preferably outside);
  • being in the woods;
  • obtaining modest sunlight;
  • while listening to soothing music
  • Meditation and mindfulness practice;
  • massage;
  • deep inhalation;
  • laughing;
  • cuddling with a loved one or a pet;
  • gentle movement and/or slow stretching activities; yoga, gentle mobility, and/or slow stretching exercises
  • gentle swimming or water immersion (in a hot tub, for example);
  • In a sauna, unwinding;
  • having sex (on a serious note);
  • Play that is both physical and non-competitive;
  • Moderate, infrequent drinking is recommended — 1-2 drinks for men and 1 drink for women… carefully and mindfully savored;
  • Green tea is being consumed.

To put it another way, think of de-stressing as a conscious effort to relax.

Some recreational activities, for example, do not count, such as:

  • viewing movies or television;
  • or playing video games
  • surfing on the web

While electronic stimulation is enjoyable, it is still stimulation. So, everything that involves a screen is off the table.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of them.

Meditation

One of the most effective stress relievers is meditation.

Regular meditation has been shown to be extremely restorative in studies, as it:

  • reduces blood pressure
  • reduces heart rate;
  • reduces stress hormones
  • reduces inflammation
  • Immune system booster;
  • even when not meditating; enhances focus, mental clarity, and attention;
  • boosts one’s mood;
  • It helps you sleep better.

Chronically high stress levels can cause your brain to rewire in a negative way, raising your risk of anxiety and depression.

Meditation, fortunately, works like magic. When done on a daily basis, it can rewire your brain in the opposite direction, allowing you to perform all sorts of amazing things.

Meditation, for example, can help with:

  • neurogenesis (the formation of new neural connections and brain cells) is a term used to describe the formation of new neural connections and brain cells.
  • emotional regulation (i.e., your ability to control your emotions);
  • recall and memory
  • gray matter growth in the brain (even after only a few weeks); and
  • our ability to control our internal clock

So, how exactly do you go about doing it?

While some people think of meditation as a mysterious technique reserved for Hare Krishna devotees, it’s actually rather simple to undertake, and you don’t have to look or act like an elderly hippie to benefit from it.

  1. Locate a comfortable, peaceful, and secluded location.
  2. Sit or lie down, whichever is more comfortable. It doesn’t matter where you sit as long as you’re comfortable.
  3. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Set a timer for 5 minutes and then forget about keeping track of how much time has passed. Your timer is in charge of this. It’ll look after you.
  4. Close your eyes for a moment.
  5. Begin with a 30-second “body scan.” Consider carefully relaxing each muscle as you scan your body from head to toe. Allow everything to fall to the ground. Allow your face to drop in particular.
  6. Concentrate now on your breathing. Push your belly button in and out as you breathe in and out through your diaphragm. Keep an eye on how the air flows in and out.
  7. Count 10 breaths and pay attention to each one.
  8. Allow your thoughts to flow in and out. Allow them to come in, then shoo them out. They’ll return. You are not required to keep them.
  9. Only look around. Don’t pass judgment. There is no such thing as a “should.” No worries if you come up with something. Don’t be concerned. Simply think, “There’s a noise” or “I have an itch” when you hear or feel something. Make a mental note of it before moving on.
  10. Continue to focus on your breathing. There’s no need to rush; simply return to it. What is it up to now?
  11. Continue until your timer runs out.
  12. To “bookend” the session, take 5 deep belly breaths.
  13. Do not close your eyes.

That is all there is to it. Isn’t it simple?

Green tea

You’re probably aware that drinking green tea has numerous health advantages. For years, we at PN have been shouting its praises. You can now add one more advantage to the list.

In a big study conducted in Japan, it was discovered that drinking green tea on a daily basis reduced the stress levels of people who were determined to have significant levels of psychological stress. This is assumed to be because green tea contains L-theanine, a non-protein amino acid (and, to an extent, in other teas).

L-theanine has been shown to be a stress reliever and relaxing agent. It decreases blood pressure and heart rate by relaxing your sympathetic nervous system and inhibiting cortisol, which our bodies release in response to stress. All of these effects can be seen in as little as 30 to 40 minutes after consumption.

L-theanine has the potential to alter brain function. Your brain produces beta brain waves for the majority of your awake hours, which can hinder concentration and focus. Green tea consumption causes your brain to produce alpha brain waves, resulting in a state of deep relaxation and mental alertness akin to that achieved during meditation.

Because L-theanine is involved in the synthesis of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma amino butyric acid, this could be the case (GABA). The major calming effect is caused by GABA’s influence on the levels of two other neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin.

Drinking a few cups of tea during the day can help you relax, focus (even more than coffee), decrease your appetite, and improve your health. Not too shabby.

Should you banish this harmless-looking substance from your pantry?

Green tea contains L-theanine, a recognized stress reliever and relaxing ingredient.

Exercise

Regular exercise is an excellent way to cope with stress. Exercising frequently allows you to let off steam, and exercising regularly can help you cope with stress.

However, keep in mind that all stress falls into one category: the allostatic load. If you already have a high level of stress in your life, training 6 times a week will merely add to it, as training stress will rise as well.

Instead, take a balanced approach to your workouts. It’s not always about doing high-intensity, high-volume lifting with high-intensity intervals. If you just exercise to the point of exhaustion, your sympathetic nervous system will be constantly stimulated, exacerbating your stress symptoms.

Instead, combine strong weight training with some severe conditioning and plenty of restorative activity, which will leave you feeling renewed and inspired rather than tired and fatigued. This may include things like:

  • BSP’s favorite pastime is walking in the sunshine, especially with the dog.
  • yoga;
  • moderate mobility exercises and/or slow stretching activities are recommended.
  • gentle swimming or water immersion (in a hot tub, for example);
  • a leisurely bicycle ride; or
  • a stroll in the park

This activity will increase blood flow, bring you outside if possible (sunlight and nature have been shown to improve mood and reduce stress), burn some calories, and activate your parasympathetic nervous system.

The parasympathetic nervous system (as opposed to the sympathetic nervous system) is known as the “rest and digest” system. To reduce stress, you must activate your parasympathetic nervous system.

There’s nothing wrong with kicking butt in the gym, but don’t make high-intensity training your main form of exercise, especially if you already have a demanding lifestyle.

Allow yourself some quiet and easy exercise: you’ll reduce stress, increase recovery, and – as a bonus — your intense lifting will improve.

Other stress-relieving suggestions

  • Create a schedule and some structure in your life. While having a rigid schedule might be limiting, having too much reactive spontaneity can also be unpleasant. Find a balance that works for you between the two.
  • Consume a lot of omega-3 fats. Take fish, krill, or algal oil, and eat fish, pasture-raised animals, flax seeds, and chia seeds.
  • Recognize your limitations. You should be aware of your stress tolerance. While following the preceding steps can help you build your stress tolerance and reduce your stress, merely understanding that you can’t be everywhere at once or everything to everyone will relieve some of the burden. Be realistic in your assessment of your own abilities and expectations. Keep in mind that everyone is unique.
  • Single-task. We frequently believe that multitasking allows us to complete more tasks in less time. When we try to accomplish numerous things at once, research repeatedly reveals that we do each of them less efficiently and effectively. It takes roughly 15 minutes for your brain to return to its optimal processing speed and efficiency after interrupting one task. Because most of us don’t accomplish anything for more than 15 minutes at a time, our brain never has a chance to settle in and get things done. Focus on one task at a time, complete it effectively, and then go on to the next.
  • Remove yourself from the digital sphere. Our lives are constantly stimulated by electronic devices. Unplug from it every now and then. Turn your phone off. Shut down your PC. Go read a book, play some games, and mingle with other people.
  • Change the way you think about stress. Get rid of the negative self-talk and strive for a more cheerful outlook. Telling yourself and others how busy you are and how much work you have on your plate just makes you feel busier, more chaotic, and more anxious. A cheerful mindset, on the other hand, can actually reduce stress levels. Simply reminding yourself that you can handle anything can boost your confidence in your ability to do so. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t be frustrated or depressed; it just means you shouldn’t dwell in them.

What does this mean to you?

Don’t get stressed out trying to implement all of these suggestions. (Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha Just concentrate on two main points:

1. All stress – personal, work, family, financial, training, positive and bad — is grouped into one bucket, resulting in your individual allostatic load.

You must manage this load in order to be healthy, lean, and fit. Find the methods that work best for you and put them into practice on a regular basis. Also, keep in mind that what works best for you at this period of your life might not work for you later on. Allow yourself to adapt your techniques when your life and allostatic load change.

2. Your response to stress is just as crucial as your stress burden.

Consider stress to be a task or a fun puzzle to solve. Plan B and be ready to roll with the punches (or C, or D). Maintain an open, adaptable, and inventive mindset. This mindset allows you to better manage your allostatic load and reduce the possibility for injury.

References

To see the information sources mentioned in this article, go here.

Beilock, Sian. Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting it Right When You Have to. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010.

Juan José Bonfiglio, et al. The Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms Involved in the Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone Network and the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Neuroendocrinology, vol. 94, no. 1, pp. 12–20, 2011. DOI: 10.1159/000328226 DOI: 10.1159/000328226 DOI: 10.1159/

J. Douglas Bremner, J. Douglas Bremner, J. Douglas Bremner, J. Is Stress Harmful to the Brain? From a Mind-Body Perspective, Understanding Trauma-Related Disorders W.W.Norton, New York, 2005.

Green tea polyphenols protect rats from cognitive deficits caused by psychological stress, according to Chen WQ and colleagues. 202(1):71-6, Behav Brain Res, August 24, 2009.

Carolyn Daitch is a writer. Anxiety Disorders: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients and Therapists W.W.Norton, New York, 2011.

Richard J. Davidson, J. Kabat-Zinn, J. Schumacher, M. Rosenkranz, D. Muller, S. F. Santorelli, R. J. Davidson, Richard J. Davidson, Richard J. Davidson, Richard J. Davidson, Richard J. Davidson, Richard J. Davidson, Richard Mindfulness Meditation Causes Changes in Brain and Immune Function. Psychosomatic Medicine, vol. 65, no. 4, July/August 2003, pp. 564-570

David Emerson and Elizabeth Hopper. Yoga for Trauma Recovery: Reclaiming Your Body North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA, 2011.

Fernandez-Rodriguez, Eva, Paul M. Stewart & Mark S. Cooper. The pituitary–adrenal axis and body composition. Pituitary 12 (2009):105–115 DOI 10.1007/s11102-008-0098-2

Gallwey, Timothy, Edd Hanzelik, and John Horton are the authors of this book. Outsmart Life’s Challenges and Reach Your Full Potential with The Inner Game of Stress. Random House, New York, 2009.

Femke L. Groeneweg, et al. Corticosteroids’ rapid non-genomic effects and their function in the central stress response. Journal of Endocrinology, vol. 209, no. 1, pp. 153–167, 2011.

P. Grossman et al (2004). “Stress reduction and health advantages through mindfulness” “A meta-study.” 35–43 in Journal of Psychosomatic Research, vol. 57, no. 1.

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L-theanine, a unique amino acid found in green tea, and its calming effect in humans, Juneja LR, Chu D-C, Okubo T, et al. Trends in Food Science and Technology, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 199-204, 1999.

Catherine Kerr, Catherine Kerr, Catherine Kerr, Catherine Kerr, Catherine Kerr, Catherine Kerr, Catherine Kerr, Catherine Kerr, Catherine Kerr, Catherine Kerr, Catherine Kerr, Catherine Kerr

Keller, A., Litzelman, K., Wisk, L., and others Is it true that stress has an impact on one’s health? The link between health and death. 2012 Sep;31(5):677-84 in Health Psychol.

SW Lazar et al (May 2000). “Relaxation response and meditation functional brain mapping.” NeuroReport, vol. 11, no. 7, pp. 1581–5.

Mason R. 200 mg of Zen; L-theanine boosts alpha waves, promotes alert relaxation. Alternative & Complementary Therapies. 2001,April; 7:91-95.

Brain on Stress: How the Social Environment Gets Under Your Skin, Bruce S. McEwen, Bruce S. McEwen, Bruce S. McEwen, Bruce S. McEwen, Bruce S. PNAS | vol. 109 | suppl. 2: 17180–17185 | 16 October 2012.

“Nutritionally Mediated Programming of the Developing Immune System,” by AC Palmer. Adv Nutr, vol. 2, no. 5, 2011, pp. 377-95.

CK Peng, JE Mietus, Y Liu, et al (July 1999). “During two meditation approaches, exaggerated heart rate oscillations were observed.” Int. J. Cardiol., vol. 70, no. 2, pp. 101–107.

A.T. Spijker and E.F.C. van Rossum. Mood Disorders and Glucocorticoid Sensitivity Neuroendocrinology, vol. 95, no. 2, pp. 179–186, 2012. DOI: 10.1159/000329846 DOI: 10.1159/000329846 DOI: 10.1159/

A. Steptoe et al. A randomized double-blind research looked at the effects of tea on psychophysiological stress responses and post-stress recovery. 190(1):81-9 in Psychopharmacology (Berl).

Short-term meditation causes white matter alterations in the anterior cingulate. Tang, Yi-Yuan, et al. The National Academy of Sciences published a paper in 2010 called “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

F. Urbanowski and colleagues (July–August 2003). “Mindfulness meditation causes changes in brain and immunological function.” 564–570 in Psychosomatic Medicine, vol. 65, no. 4.

Valdés, Manuel, et al. Increased glutamate/glutamine compounds in the brains of patients with fibromyalgia: A magnetic resonance spectroscopy study. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 62 (2010): 1829–1836. doi: 10.1002/art.27430

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Seckl, Yehuda, Rachel, and Jonathan A Metabolic Hypothesis for Stress-Related Psychiatric Disorders with Low Cortisol Levels. Endocrinology, vol. 152, no. 12, December 2011, pp. 4496–4503.

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Kraly, F. Scott. The Unwell Brain: Understanding the Psychobiology of Mental Health. New York: W.W.Norton & Co., 2009.

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Bounce: Living the Resilient Life, by Robert J. Wicks. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 2010.

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Stress is something that all humans experience. It ranges from mild annoyance to full-on panic. It can be a physical sensation like the kind you feel when you have an asthma attack or a migraine, or it can be an emotional response like when you are having a panic attack or when you are depressed. Stress is a normal part of life, but when it becomes a problem, it’s something we have to manage.. Read more about eustress and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does finding the stress sweet spot mean?

Finding the stress sweet spot is when you are able to play a song without getting too stressed out.

What is good stress and bad stress?

Good stress is when you are able to focus on the task at hand, and bad stress is when your mind wanders off.

What are examples of good stress?

Good stress is when you are doing something that you enjoy. It can also be when you are doing something that challenges your skills and abilities.

Related Tags

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • good stress examples
  • good stress and bad stress
  • good stress definition
  • bad stress
  • what is good stress
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