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Good stress, bad stress- Know your body better

Stress, subjective from person to person results in either good outcomes, or bad outcomes. Stress is your body’s response to certain events. Your body produces chemicals and hormones during these times to help react to the situation. Your heart rate increases, your brain reacts faster, and you have a sudden burst of energy. There are good stress and bad stress. The differences are listed below:




Eustress (good stress)

Usually in the form of challenges, eustress leads our body to enter an array of responses. These responses are there to keep us motivated, work towards a goal or feel good afterwards. Some Eustress in our life can help us grow in 3 areas:


Emotionally – Brings about a positive feeling of contentment, inspiration, motivation and flow. Imagine scoring well for a test after a period of stressful revision, or getting hired after preparing well for your job interview.

Psychologically – Eustress helps build self efficacy, autonomy and resilience. being able to handle positive stressful moments help build our confidence

Physically – Eustress helps build stronger bodies and immunity. Think about completing a challenging work out.


More examples of Eustress

Taking on a new work project

Going to a foreign country for the first time

Being a new parent/grandparent

Incorporating a new exercise regime

Buying a new house

Child starting school


Distress (bad stress)

Because stress should be short term, your body should return to its normal state after the event has passed. Your heart rate should slow down, your muscles relax, and breathing slows down. Long term stress especially coming from negative events leads to “Distress”. Distress leads you to feel fatigued, lack of motivation, decreased performance, memory or immunity.

Chronic distress puts our body in a heightened state, your heart pumps hard, your blood vessels constrict for a longer period of time. Over time, these may take a toll on your body. Stress will also become harmful if alcohol or smoking are used to “release stress”.


More examples of Distress

Loss of a loved one

Falling ill or being a burden to kids

Financial instability

Retrenchment

Failing an exam or interview

Last minute studying before an exam


Complications of chronic stress

Some serious complications chronic stress contributes to include:

  • Heart disease

  • Accident rates increase

  • Cancer

  • Lung disease

  • Cirrhosis of liver

  • Suicide

Tips on Coping with stress

  1. Identify the stress: the most important step is to identify what stresses you. With this, you can plan how to minimize or manage it

  2. Change stressors when possible: some stresses are unavoidable, but some can be easily managed. Example if you always feel stressed before a presentation, being prepared for it by role playing will help a lot.

  3. Set limits: there is just so much you can do or tolerate. Learn to reject politely when tasks piles up too high

  4. Stay calm: easier said than done. But being able to keep cool allows you to think logically, planning your next step.

  5. Involve others: sometimes sharing your thoughts and tasks to the correct group of people helps a lot. Involve your family when it comes to home chores.

  6. Be active: this is the easiest method. Being active by exercising releases happy hormones, relaxes the mind and allows you to stay focused.

  7. Be optimistic/find an outlet: bottling up your sorrows serves no good. Finding an outlet helps release your psychological stress. Stress outlets like talking to someone, going for a massage, enjoying a comedy or exercising are some useful methods.

Need a listening ear or a lifestyle modification program to combat stress? contact us to find out more.


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