Weekend Wisdom in Lockdown: Healthy Stress vs. Unhealthy Stress

The phrase “healthy stress” may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s actually a reality. Stress is inescapable; everyone feels some stress at some points throughout their lives. Our bodies are therefore equipped to handle certain types and amounts of stress. We can even benefit from it.

So what is the difference between healthy and unhealthy stress? What makes stress healthy? Here are some things to think about regarding stress and its role in your health.

Healthy Stress

-The Great Motivator

Without stress, not very much would get done. Stress is what drives you to teach your kids proper behaviour, to earn money, and to pay your bills on time. It is what keeps you on your toes in a football game or when catching your tumbling toddler. A certain amount of stress about traffic accidents motivates you to drive safely.

-Reaction Time

Did you feel stress when that person cut you off in traffic? The stress response was partially responsible for your quick pressure on the brakes! Stress can motivate us into quick, sometimes life-saving action.

In the case of an emergency, one of your stress hormones — adrenaline — kicks in, and prompts you to act quickly and sometimes with remarkable strength.

-Endorphins

Endorphins are the “feel good” neurotransmitters. When the body is stressed or in pain, its natural pain relievers are released in the form of endorphins. Exercise is a healthy way to bring this kind of endorphin-releasing stress onto your body.

While you should not exercise to the point of unbearable pain, it’s okay to push yourself a little. In Yin Yoga we talk about ‘playing the edge’ where you go to the edge of your range of movement and try a millimeter more, then pull back to the edge and just relax into that edge. After a few minutes try again and amazingly often you find you can go that extra millimeter that was impossible before. Massage therapy and acupuncture can also stimulate the release of endorphins.

-Other Health Benefits

Experts are finding anti-tumor activity in people who undergo healthy stress, indicating that healthy stress stimulates the immune system.

Unhealthy Stress

-Constant

The unhealthy type of stress is constant. You do not return to a normal energy level after it has passed. Unhealthy stress can take the form of constant worry, depression, and exhaustion. It can cause weight gain as well due to the release of cortisol, the “stress hormone.”

-Immunity

Continual stress weakens the immune system. That can leave you more susceptible to everyday illnesses and more serious problems such as cancer.

-Sweating the Small Stuff

People who are chronically stressed usually worry about common, everyday things over which they have no control. These are the kinds of things that are not going to go away, such as paying bills, keeping the house clean, and so forth.

Once one set of worries is tackled, another set comes along. Accepting these annoyances as part of life can go a long way in helping you cope with unhealthy stress.

Join me anytime on Facebook at the group MakeBigImpactNow. This is a community of Changemakers and Grassroots Givers who are doing what they can to make a difference and change the world. They are sincerely engaged in Doing Good Better, starting with themselves!

I’m producing a ton of free content about making an impact, leaving a legacy, making a difference and opening up the most profound levels of self-care for turbulent times. https://www.facebook.com/groups/468677503774245/

I am also blogging and posting on my old website which I will be dusting off and breathing new life into over the next few weeks. Watch this space. www.elizabethmorrisonline.com

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Elizabeth Morris

Elizabeth Morris

6 Followers

Best-selling Digital Communicator on the Science, Psychology, Soma and Soul of Compassion in Action