Address Your Stress

Section Two: Good and Bad Stress

Diagnose whether you are experiencing good stress or bad stress.

Some amount of stress can keep you alert, focused, and energized. It’s the feeling that drives you to ace the interview, reach your goal, meet that deadline, or make a positive life change. Some stress does have value; however, too much stress causes life-disrupting conditions. “Bad” Stress is defined by feeling that the stressor is threatening your well-being, and that you don’t believe that you can deal with it. Roll your mouse over the image to the right to explore the impact of bad stress.

Recognize when you’re stressed, so you can prepare for the potential cascade of responses.

Once stressors become consistent over time, are relevant to your well-being, and seem inescapable, the stress response begins. There is a very tangible reaction occurring in your body when you are stressed. Physical changes can happen in the body, such as quickened breathing, increased heart rate, raised blood pressure, and sweaty palms. These physical reactions are due to your nervous system reacting to stress. It also turns off the processes in your body that will help you feel calm and relaxed. This overload of reactions within your body will also slowly wear on your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to illness, additional stress, or loss of sleep.

There are also significant mental impacts that occur due to the stress response.

You have certainly experienced the feelings that come with stress. The routine responses of being angry, agitated, emotional, withdrawn, tense, nervous, or apathetic come with your overwhelming stress response. Prolonged stress, whether real or perceived, will wear you down and make you more vulnerable to negative moods. Daily activities, such as chores or going to work, may seem more difficult due to a lack of energy and trouble concentrating. Watch the video to the right to learn more about how bad stress can affect the mind.