This article will show you why stress can be both good and bad. It matters how you look at it! Without stress, everything would be plain. Read on to get to know more about stress and its consequences.
Let’s imagine a storyline for a new blockbuster movie: The main character wakes up, has his or her breakfast, goes to work, then comes back home and goes to bed early. Nothing happens, no surprises, no unexpected turnouts, no enemies, and no hurries – let’s imagine a movie, in which nothing spectacular happens. What do you think about a movie like that – would you really like to watch it? Exactly, as nothing happens in that movie, nobody would like to see it as it seems like a very boring movie.
Same thing with our lives: Do you remember that particular day when nothing happened? Don’t think so, but surely you remember your driver’s exam, your last day in school, your wedding day, the moment when your kids were born or something similar exciting – no matter if it’s bad or good – happened to you. As we remember the special events in our lives, we mostly forget the boring routines. Boring things are not worth to remember.
Events which are worth to remember our whole lifetime are usually those which kept us up all night. We’ve been nervous, we’ve had fears, we were dealing with obstacles but at the end of the day everything went fine. The best days of your life probably came around full of stress and challenges.
Stress can be a good thing, it energizes us, it stimulates our capacities and allows us to react fast, properly and appropriately. Our body has a special mode which comes from the origins of our forefathers. They had to fight for food and for the security of their families every day. In case of emergency, there was not sufficient time to overthink every possible option. If the lion attacks your cave, you need to react fast. In thesse situations, our body produces special hormones which allow us an immediate reaction. These hormones are stress-related; they suppress feelings of hunger, fear, cold or illness. Even pain doesn’t feel as strong when our body is in alarm status.
This natural alarm function of our bodies was one of the most important things for our forefathers, because it allowed them to survive. Today, we do not need to fight every day for our survival. But the biological reactions of our body remain the same. If we feel stress, most other feelings are turned off, our focus and our power are centered to the challenges we face. That way, we are better capable of finding a solution and get possible obstacles out of our way to achieve our goals. In short, our natural body functions allow us to rise to any occasion - and reward us in case of success.
The problems start when this alarm state never ends. If we feel stressed, tense or afraid for a long time because the exceptional circumstances persist, the danger of exhaustion and tiredness grows step by step. We can bear stress and challenges for a long time, but not forever. People who have to fight for their daily lives everyday will probably suffer from exhaustion and depression after a while. This is the reason why soldiers or refugees, when arriving in a safe haven or safe place, they start to feel exhausted and traumatized. Several serious psychological issues (as for example a posttraumatic stress disorder - PTSD) are likely to commence after the stress and as soon as the danger is gone.
When our body restarts his normal functions, he faces the consequences of the former alarm state. The longer the alarm state lasts, the more serious these consequences might be. This is important to remember: stress can be a good thing, but never-ending tensions and stress can lead to serious health problems and psychological disorders.
We speak about good stress, if it matches with one or more of these criteria:
On the contrary, bad stress has one ore more of these criteria:
If the stress you feel belongs to the second category, you should take measures against it. Or else you might be suffering from serious health problems in the near future. There are several relaxation techniques which can help you to deal better with stress, like breath control, yoga, sport or similar activities. If you see no way out of your situation, it can be a good idea to contact your family doctor or a psychologist for professional help. Remember: Stress can be a good thing, but if you cannot bear it anymore, you should do something against it and act immediately!
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