Stress is healthy

March 3, 2014

We’ve all been told, over and over again, that stress is bad for us, right? Too much stress can cause headaches, sleeping disorders, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, and can play a part in diseases such as cardiac disease, diabetes, skin conditions and asthma. And we have this belief that stress is going to give us grey hair, or make us lose our hair, gain weight, lose weight, bags under the eyes… the list goes on of how we might describe the unhealthy look of a stressed out person.

Sounds bad, really bad.

But is it really?

The human body, your body, is designed to react to different stresses (emotional, physical, mental). How the body responds to these different daily stresses allows you to be mentally alert and physically prepared, which keeps you safe in dangerous situations, it challenges your brain so that you can learn new tasks, and helps you develop social and interpersonal skills so that you can be a helpful and active member of society.

That sounds good to me.

And the truth is that it is good and it can be bad.

Stress becomes a negative when you forget to stop, slow down, and give yourself a break from being involved in high stress circumstances, and when you haven’t learned the particular skills necessary to manage the particular stress you’re experiencing.

There are many different things you can do to take a break and learn how to manage stress in your life. Practices such as Meditation, Pranayama breathing and Asana postures in yoga are great ways of teaching your body how to respond to emotional, mental, and physical stress. You might also want to become more competitive or learn a new sport or martial art instead. Whereas gentle activities like reading, soaking in the hot tub, or calming hand Mudras and Yoga Nidra practices are great for taking that time out to replenish. This makes stress a positive.

There are two more important things to remember when managing stress, in this video psychologist Kelly McGonigal talks about the importance of reaching out to others and believing that stress is good, in turning your daily stress from a negative impact into a positive one.

Please share with anyone you think will find this helpful or interesting. I would love to hear from you and learn from your experiences with stress!

What do you think about the stress in your life? Do you feel you can turn it into a positive force for growth, community, and awareness? What skills have you implemented that you can share to help others manage and befriend the stress in their life?