Types of Stress: The Difference Between Good Stress and Bad Stress
4th Apr 2022
“Stress is great!” said no one ever. Stress is a widespread concern affecting the lives of millions of people across the world.
Most of us have experienced, in some way or another, the detrimental effects of stress. If you haven’t then you are probably living in denial. Stress is a normal part of life.
According to The American Institute of Stress: About 33 percent of people report feeling extreme stress. 77 percent of people experience stress that affects their physical health, and 73 percent of people have stress that impacts their mental health. That’s a lot of stressed-out people.
Not All Stress is Bad Stress
Elevated levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, for a prolonged period can have harmful impacts on our health and wellbeing. Stress is our bodies’ reaction to changes that are demanding, and cortisol is a life-sustaining adrenal hormone essential to the maintenance of homeostasis. But cortisol is also an important survival mechanism and motivator.
Different Types of Stress
There are three main types of stress. These can also be thought of as different levels of stress as they progress.
Being in a calm state is great for a while. This is the place you want to be before going to bed, when meditating, reading a book or anytime you really need your brain to relax and maybe not be hyper-focused. Though it may seem counterintuitive, being at this calm state is not your most productive place to stay.
Eustress is the good type of stress that works as a motivator. Eustress makes you feel excited about the challenge and is seen as an incentive to get things done which incites focus and productivity. Feeling pumped up can promote the release of endorphins as well as the anandamide and makes you happier and more energized.
When the stress becomes too much to cope with, it’s identified as bad stress, also known as distress. Challenges no longer seem to be fun and there seems to be no end in sight. Struggling with too much stress can exhaust your energy and drive, which leads to an increase in your blood pressure, rapid breathing, generalized tension resulting in poor mental and physical health.
Finding a balance between stress levels
Even good stress can seem like bad stress sometimes. This could be the case if you are preparing for a big job interview, planning your wedding or getting ready for an important athletic competition. How do you balance your stress levels in order to bring your best self?
Free up mental space
Even the smallest things can build up. Often this is prompted by a feeling of being overwhelmed. Start with getting the little things out of the way. Do the laundry, put away the dishes, and start with a clean slate. Freeing up mental space to deal with stress, may also mean taking care of your physical space. And put your phone down while you are doing those things. It will help with your productivity.
Freeing up mental space may also mean that you have to say “no” sometimes. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a thing for a lot of people who are lives of the party or people pleasers. But you can’t do everything and you don’t have to.
Get some rest
The benefits of sleep are often underrated. Proper rest makes a big difference in our ability to process and retain information. If you are having trouble focusing because you are exhausted, well of course you are going to be stressed. You are probably also going to make more mistakes and poor decisions. Prioritize allowing your body and mind to rest. You will not be able to stay in a space of productive eustress if your body and mind are in distress.
Self Care is not selfish or difficult
If you are completely stressed out, it is ok to take a break and bring yourself back down to that calm state. That may mean reading a book, doing yoga, taking a walk, drinking a cup of tea, or taking some Seriously Relax CBD (we always think that is a good idea). Let your mind come back to a quiet, safe, and calm place.
If you feel like you do not have enough time in the day for self-care, then the problem goes back to being able to say “no.” That may also be in the workplace too. It is good that people have high expectations of you. Make sure that those expectations are reasonable. That’s on you.
Check out our Free eBook on CBD and Stress for more information about how the endocannabinoid system can help keep you calm, naturally.