My thoughts on stress have always tended to be very negative. But recently, I've been noticing that the products I produce (and by products I mean classwork, projects for work, etc.) have been exceptional (bragging? yeah, a little bit), even though I was fairly stressed out while they were all in progress...hm.
So, my question is...is stress really that bad for you? Or are certain stress levels acceptable to live with, if you know how to manage them? Clearly you can see I'm trying to answer my own question here. But I'll refer to my second question as more of a hypothesis than a question.
In a simple google search the first article that popped up was this one: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/02/13/who-says-stress-is-bad-for-you.html
While the initial paragraph was fairly alarming, the rest revealed that stress is not as bad for you as all the hype says it is. It goes into a lot of detail and discusses some experiments that have been conducted, so definitely give it a read if you're interested. What I pulled from this article is that stress is a hormonal reaction to certain things, as the article says, danger, change or uncertainty, and it is the body's way of making itself able to handle these things. Another item I pulled out is that you must have control to be able to handle stress. And by control, it means control over your life and whether or not you actually feel that you are in control.
Just from personal experience, I feel that this was a large part of the reason why I went through my period of depression. What started out as moderate stress turned into feeling like I completely lacked control over my own life and a sense of hopelessness which for a time led me to feel that I had an inability to take charge of my own future. It was only once I began to take back control in small portions that I started to feel better.
Some signs that you are experiencing too much stress include: mental slowness/fogginess, getting sick frequently, experiencing more aches and pains, anxiety and irritability and can often lead to more serious issues such as high blood pressure and heart disease. For more symptom info, check out the Mayo Clinic's website for a brief overview: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-symptoms/SR00008_D
Some other good stress facts that I have learned: Moderate stress can actually help people to perform tasks more efficiently. It can also improve memory. It also may possibly strengthen the immune system, and prevent against diseases and cancers.
My conclusions: Stress may actually be necessary to get through certain events, etc. but you need to maintain control and not let stress completely take over. The difference seems to be that good stress is short term and bad stress is long term.
So how do we stop stress from taking over? Check out this site: http://www.mtstcil.org/skills/stress-lt-2.html
1. Take a step back and evaluate what things stress you out - then come up with a a strategy for managing them better.
2. Recognize what you can change.
3. Put things in perspective and evaluate your reactions to them.
7. Surround yourself with people who will support and encourage you.
8. Don't hold things in.
9. Always remember that sometimes you can't actually prevent stress, but you can manage it.
Hope you have a stress-free day!
p.s. check out the poll on your right!
Disclaimer: None of the above photos are of me, and I do not take credit for them, they are merely on my blog to serve as fitness inspiration and are taken from various different internet sources.