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Can Stress Be Good for You?


We tend to think of stress as inherently unhealthy but did you know it can also be positive? For example, you might feel anxious during or after pregnancy; the excitement of a big day (wedding, graduation, etc.) might also cause you to feel stress, even though they are events you are looking forward to. This type of stress is called eustress, as opposed to the type of stress that feels very unpleasant (distress). Like distress, eustress also releases stress hormones in your body, which may help you get through the experience in a more positive way such as providing you with more energy to accomplish a task, or the ability to react quickly when needed.

Everyone experiences stress, at least sometimes. The problem with either type of stress is that, over time and without regular relief, it can have negative effects on both physical and mental health. According to the Cleveland Clinic, some of the physical signs of stress include:

  • General aches and pains
  • Chest pain, racing heart
  • Fatigue, sleep problems
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Digestive problems
  • Trouble having sex

Emotional/mental symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Sadness

Stress can also trigger unhealthy coping mechanisms such as:

  • Overdrinking alcohol
  • Gambling
  • Over/undereating
  • Sexual, shopping, internet addictions
  • Using drugs

Luckily, both types of stress can be addressed and managed by paying attention to your mind and body with regular practices such as:

  • Meditation (many apps offer free/low-cost meditation sessions)
  • Prayer
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Yoga/tai chi
  • Listening to music
  • Exercise (especially outdoors)
  • Talking to friends/family/therapist
  • Socializing with loved ones
  • Journaling

While we can’t remove stress from our lives, we can make a commitment to ourselves to manage it in healthy ways. Happy Stress Awareness Month from Insights.





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