Are there any positive effects of stress? Yes!
Stress can be positive or negative.
What are the benefits of stress?
When asked to define stress, most people usually refer to its bad side.
They describe stress as an unpleasant experience - being under too much pressure, feeling frustrated or bored, being in situations which they cannnot control, thinking they are a failure, marital discord, bereavement or financial difficulties...
What they are in fact describing is distress - the bad aspect of stress.
If left unchecked, this can lead to poor performance, decreased productivity and ill health.
Distress can cause you to have headaches, indigestion, colds, neck and back ache and unhappy relationships.
Distress can also be ugly!
This is the more extreme form of bad stress, leading to disability or even death, as a result of cancer, heart attacks, cancer, anxiety, depression and nervous break downs.
On the other hand, some people describe stress as a pleasant, exciting, stimulating and thrilling experience...
They feel completely capable of handling the demands they face and enjoy the situations that challenge them.
The stress they experience is called eustress or good stress.
Tackling stimulating and interesting tasks, being creative and productive, achieving goals and desires and participating in competitive sports are all parts of the positive effects of stress.
Here stress is working for us to improve our performance.
How you define stress is unique to you. What is distressful to you might be eustressful to another person...
Someone about to take their first parachute jump may be overcome with fear and unable to jump (distress). An experienced parachutist will jump without worrying about the life-threatening situation and enjoy the jump - but with their stress response in a high state of arousal they will be alert and ready to deal with any problems that may arise (eustress - positive effects of stress).
In this example, the jump is the same for both parachutists but each experiences a different feeling and and a different level of stress. This is because each assess the nature of the demand and their own ability to cope with it.
Definition of Stress
Stress can be defined as a state we experience when there is a mismatch between perceived demands and perceived ability to cope. It is the balance between how we view demands and how we think we can cope with those demands that determines whether we feel no stress, distressed or eustressed.
The positive effects of stress can be experienced when our perceived ability to cope outweighs our perceived demands.
The eustress situation gives rise to a feeling of confidence, of being in control and being able to tackle and complete tasks, challenges and demands.
When the positive effects of stress are working, the stress response is activated by just the right amount to provide the alertness and mental and physical performance required to be productive and creative.
Because of the way we live these days, we do feel distress at sometime or another. We need to reduce the frequency and extent to which our stress becomes distress. We can do this by reducing the number and types of demands in our lives and by developing coping resources.
This helps to minimize the effects of distressful situations. We need to learn how to use the positive effects of stress, or eustress, by getting the right balance between demands and coping resources...
And that is what our site is all about - DIY stress relief!
We cannot live a life without any distress so the important thing is not to allow our stress balance to remain permanently in the distress zone and not to stray into this zone too often and too far. Instead we should try and use our stress response to improve our lives and benefit from the positive effects of stress.
This can be done by learning skills to alter the balance between demands and coping ability - and this is the basis for effective stress management.
More Useful Information
If you enjoyed reading this page, you might enjoy having a look at our articles on stress - we have chosen articles which we feel add value and good advice for living better everyday.
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