We’ve all been stressed at some point in our lives, some more than others. We say we’re stressed when everything just becomes too much to handle, we’re overwhelmed, we’re overloaded and wondering if we can handle what’s being thrown at us. Stress is simply anything posing as a threat or challenge to our well-being. Believe it or not, there are some stresses that are actually good for you because without it, life would get boring. Stress becomes bad when it weakens both physical and mental health.
It is important to know what kind of stress is good and how it differs from bad stress. A few examples of good stress are travel, falling in love, and change. When you fall in love, cortisol levels are generally elevated, which suggests the stressful and arousing condition associated with falling in love. Change has a large biological component; a person’s temperament has a lot to do with how stressful change is to him or her. If you are someone who does not handle stress well, there are several things you can do to help: making a list of examples where change has been a positive factor in your life, using good self-care, and using graded exposure. In other words, you take gradual steps until you’re more comfortable to take the next step. Graded exposure is part of the therapy process for several psychological problems.
Good stress and bad stress, however, are not the only types of stress out there. It goes even further with acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress. Acute stress is most common, and comes from demands and pressures of recent past events, pressures of the near future, and anticipated demands. Acute stress can be thrilling, but too much becomes exhausting. Too much short-term stress could lead to tension headaches, psychological distress, and other symptoms; luckily these symptom are often recognized by the person in acute stress. Since it is short-term, acute stress usually doesn’t do extensive damage and is highly manageable and treatable.
Episodic acute stress affects the “worry warts”, Type-A personalities, and those who suffer from acute stress more frequently. These people are often over-aroused, short-tempered, irritable, anxious and tense. Their lives are usually so disordered they are in studies for chaos and crisis. They might often suffer from persistent tension headaches/migraines, hypertension, chest pain and heart disease. Many see no problem with the way they live and can be resistant to change their ways. They place the blame on everything and everyone but themselves. The only way to treat them is to promise them a life free of pain and discomfort; treatment is more extreme because most go through a recovery program.
Chronic stress wears people away day after day and destroys bodies, minds, and lives. It is more long-term and typically affects those in poverty, those with dysfunctional families, or being trapped in an unhappy marriage or job. Those with chronic stress will never see a way out of a miserable situation; thus, they give up because they have no hope. Some cases of chronic stress is the result of traumatic early childhood experiences which are always present and forever remain painful. Chronic stress can affect a person’s personality. Chronic stress becomes such a familiar part of their lives they forget it’s even there. It kills through suicide, violence, heart attack, stroke, and maybe even cancer because people wear down to a final, fatal breakdown. The symptoms of chronic stress become difficult to beat and require extensive medical and behavioral treatment and stress management.
Best Ways to Cope With Stress:
- Get some fresh air
- Rely on your comforting routine
- Get your mind off of things with activities keeping your hands and mind busy
- Connect to your spiritual side
- Close your eyes and find your happy place
- Take a relaxing bath
- Express your gratitude
Worst Ways to Cope With Stress:
- Drinking, smoking, and other bad habits
- Ignoring the problem
- Dwelling on the negative
- Making food a crutch
Working some of these activities into your daily life can keep your stress at a manageable level. Life won’t always be easy and stress is inevitable, but the most important thing is to have control of it.