Is Stress Good for Us?
We blame everything on stress, from blemishes to headaches, to sleepless nights and heartburn.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the time these things are stress related, especially when we live and work in highly stressful environments. But sometimes (just sometimes) stress is good.
What is “Good Stress”?
“Good stress” is what psychologists refer to as “eustress” and it’s the type of stress we feel when we are excited. Eustress helps us to feel the motivation needed to meet our daily goals ultimately making us more productive and on-task.
Good stress is short-term and helps you to focus your energy, you might feel it before a first date or a job interview. This level of stress is manageable as there is no immediate threat or danger.
What are the Benefits of Eustress?
It is proven by research that small levels of stress can improve our cognitive function and develops our memory and attention span.
Many people work better under stress which is why a lot of people leave assignments to the last minute. It doesn’t suit everyone, but for those that work best under pressure stress is a vital drive.
Moderate stress can also stimulate the production of a chemical called interleukins which gives a boost to our immune system and protects our bodies against illnesses. This is not to be mistaken for chronic stress which lowers our immunity.
Have you ever taken time off work, only to spend the entire week with a common cold? It might be due to that sudden dip in interleukins. Keep your body active during time off with exercise to combat this.
Moderate stress can also help us develop as adults and learn how to deal with similar situations in the future. It builds our resilience and helps us to become more aware of ourselves.
These small levels of stress push us to feel alert and help us to build mental fitness. The stress hormone helps us to adapt and evolve so we can remember a situation we felt stressed in and build tactics and skills for the time it happens again.
How Do we Know When it’s Chronic Stress?
The stress response is natural for when we feel threatened. Our body is programmed to respond to danger, so we release hormones like adrenaline and cortisol to help us react quickly.
Some people have stress that goes on for a long time, this becomes chronic stress. When we are in a constant state of stress, we are bracing our body for danger that never comes. This is when it becomes unhealthy.
Chronic stress can be detrimental to your health, both mentally and physically, so it’s important to know the signs. If you have been feeling stressed for a number of weeks consistently, you may find that you start to forget things or have trouble concentrating.
Often, chronic stress can make us very tired and irritable during the day which then causes us to have trouble with our sleep. We may also struggle with headaches or sore muscles which are tense. There are many other signs of chronic stress.
It’s important to seek help when you are struggling with chronic stress from your GP or a mental health professional. Reaching out to family or friends may help to relieve some of the physical stresses that surround you.
If you feel you might be showing some signs of chronic stress from work related tasks, it might be worth speaking to your manager about temporarily or permanently decreasing your work load while you get yourself some help.
Contact us at Inspire You if you feel you would benefit with some help around stress online or in person.