Types of Stress: Not All Stress is Bad For You

Not all types of stress are bad for you.

If I asked "would you like more stress in your life?"

You would probably think that I was crazy!

Many of us are familiar with too much stress and that stress is a bad thing for our health.

BUT did you know that stress can be good for you!

The 'flow' that an athlete feels when they performing at their best...the motivation to master a new skill...the creative energy that an artist has when they are in their element.

These are quite different to the stress of humiliation, failure, overwork, or boredom.

Most of us think that stress is all bad but this is not true.

Understanding what the different types of stress and maintaining optimal stress levels is important for your stress health and well-being.

Different types of stress

As strange as it sounds, you need stress in your life.

Stress can be motivating and inspire you to new horizons. You need a certain amount of stress to enjoy life.

Have you ever felt the thrill and excitement when you won a game?

The accomplishment of a challenge?

The feeling of being loved?

If so, then that extra energy that you feel, the effect of adrenaline coursing through your bloodstream is often felt as excitement or enthusiasm.

This type of stress is called eustress.

Eustress is good stress that provides that sense of challenge and motivation that can lead to greater performances.

It can improve your athletic performance, heightening your awareness and sense of purpose.

Good stress is about remaining alert and rising to the challenges that you face in your day-to-day living.

But as you know, too much of a good thing can lead to F’s on an exam and is not great for your tennis game.

Too much stress can lead to distress.

This distress is often felt as worry and anxiety, and can put you off your performance and lead to poorer health.

These common types of stress can be broken up into acute stress and chronic stress.

Most of us are familiar with acute stress. The type of stress is brief and usually requires an immediate response.

But chronic stress can be unrelenting and continue for weeks or even years.

That noisy roommate you had last semester, the continual traffic jams on your daily commute, overwork and other workplace stress, ongoing concerns about job security and financial stress.

The effects of stress on your mind and body can be profound.

Some of the effects of stress include:

Physical effects of stress

Emotional effects of stress

  • Increased worry or anxiety
  • Impaired decision making
  • Increased incidence of depression
  • Increased irritability or moodiness
  • Increased frustration or anger

Types of stress: Optimal stress levels

Do you know somebody who knows how hard to push to get the best out of you – a parent, teacher or a coach?

If so, then you have experienced the effects of positive stress – in which you have felt inspired and challenged.

What about somebody who pushed you too hard, or did not push you hard enough?

You either felt overworked or bored.

What I have explained here was something that is described in the Yerkes-Dodson curve.

types of stress

The picture to the right illustrates how your performance is related to your overall stress levels.

As the level of stress increases we are challenged and our performance increases.

When you have the right amount of stress you enter a state of ‘flow’...an area of optimum performance.

When you are experiencing ‘flow’ you are able to concentrate and focus on the task that you have to do and perform at your best.

Exceeding that optimal level of stress, either through overwork, time pressures, performance anxiety or general over-stimulation, those same demands become causes of stress for you.

Different types of stress and attaining flow

The main goal of this site is so that you can attain the optimal level of stress for you and the task that you are doing.

If you do this you will perform better and improve your health and well-being.

There are a number of stress management techniques that you can use to reduce stress. These include:

  • Monitor stress levels

    Knowing your warning signs of stress, the symptoms of stress, and your causes of stress is a good start to implementing stress management techniques.

    Download a stress diary and collect objective data today.

  • Refine relaxation techniques to deal with stress

    When stress the body responds with the fight or flight response. The body releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream.

    This stress response is a sympathetic nervous system activation. The direct opposite of this is activating the parasympathetic nervous system through the relaxation response.

    These relaxation techniques counter the emotional and physical effects of stress.

  • Develop a positive mental attitude for stress relief

    Based on our definition of stress how you view the stressor matters.

    This means that if you can reframe the cause of stress as an opportunity to learn, challenge, or stretch yourself, then you are likely to feel less stress.

    Develop your positive mental attitude and positive thinking skills to promote your resilience to stress.

Search here for more stress management techniques

Related stress management articles

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How Does Stress Affect Health

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Stress and Anger, Depression, and Anxiety

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Cortisol and Stress: The Relationship between Cortisol and Stress

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