The term stress has always been perceived to have a negative implication, you wouldn’t find
anyone saying ‘Oh thank the Lord, I feel so stressed today’! So what is the talk about this good stress that is doing the rounds of the internet? Is it
true or is it just another urban myth?
When we are under physical or mental pressure, our body goes into the fight or flight mode. Your adrenaline levels peak up and your senses become twice more sensitive and conscious, in times like these our stress response can end up saving our lives.
Although, perceived to be a physiological discomforting state, stress also has positive and far-reaching effects on our mind and body. Eustress is the term coined for
good stress and it basically means that your body is getting excited or charged up in the absence of any negative circumstances.
When you are stressed, your nervous system and adrenal glands pump adrenaline and stress hormones into the body. Further, this action leads to an increase in your heart rate, a flow of adrenaline through the body, tightening of the muscles, and dilating of the blood vessels in order to surge blood to the brain and muscles.
Such changes create awareness within the body and prepare it to face the challenge.
In the case of chronic or negative stress too, your body gets wired but it has a harmful effect on the body. Instead of dilating, the blood vessels contract causing a shortage of blood to the organs and inducing a feeling of nausea and dizziness. Often your breath also comes out shallow and your thoughts cloud over sometime coupling up
negative stress with a feeling of acute depression.
To put simply, good stress is something that gets you excited in a happy way and pushes you to do something that you ‘want to’. Bad stress on the other hand creates a feeling of hopelessness, negativity and fear and is often brought about by work pressure, health problems, death of close ones, failure in life and personal problems.
Since the basis of both good and bad stress is the same, can bad stress be converted into good stress?
Considering that stress is mainly brought about by our perception and reaction, it is possible to turn bad stress to good stress, to some extent. Most of our emotions are in
our head, if you do not perceive something to be stressed about, you wouldn’t stress over it.
However, this isn’t always the case because even if we are able to tame our reaction, mostly the cause of stress is external. Hence, there will always be some reaction in
the brain but the level of this reaction and consequently the level of stress would be comparatively lower.
Even though good stress is well good for you, too much of it can turn it into chronic stress because of the effect of the high level of continuous adrenaline flowing
through the body.