Good Stress vs Bad Stress  

Person holding up green and red smiley faces representing Good Stress vs Bad Stress

If you find yourself becoming increasingly overwhelmed, the Mind Spa invites you to take a moment to explore good stress vs bad stress and how we can manage stress in our lives for the better. First, let’s check in and evaluate what stress looks like for you and consider some coping strategies you can implement to promote a healthier you.  

Stress. It’s a feeling we’ve all experienced at some point in our lives, and for some, this feeling can linger more than others.  But just how much stress is too much stress? And what kind of stress is just enough to benefit from it? Let’s explore Good Stress vs Bad Stress and how we can manage stress in our lives for the better.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Stress 

“I feel….” 

  • Overwhelmed  
  • Like I cannot catch a break 
  • Constantly tired 
  • Unable to focus  
  • Disinterested in life and people  
  • Like a failure

All these symptoms are common psychological responses to stress. Many times, these feelings also coincide with physical symptoms, including rapid heartbeat, muscle tension, changes in appetite, and more.  

For many, these symptoms can develop due to life changes, relationship dynamics, family responsibilities, and/or financial strain.  

What makes stress “bad”? 

It is important to recognize that stress is a normal part of life. Life presents each one of us with our own personal and very unique challenges. These challenges require us to make decisions to accommodate and pivot and, hopefully, to grow.  

Unfortunately, we have little control over what kind of stress or how much stress comes our way.  What we can control, however, is how we respond to these unique challenges. Stress is no fault of our own. 

“Bad stress” is when stress becomes unmanageable and leads to long-term disharmony in the body. This stress is detrimental as it can lead to an imbalance in health and like a ripple effect, interfere with daily life. Chronic stress can look like: 

  • Frequent headaches, migraines 
  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss 
  • Increased anxiety and panic attacks 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Difficulty sleeping  
  • Hormonal problems  
  • Gastrointestinal problems  
  • Skin and hair problems 
  • Long-term inflammation and oxidative stress  

What does “good” stress look like? 

Our bodies are built to combat acute stress, meaning small doses of stress. This is made possible through the flight or fight response activated by the sympathetic nervous system.  

This type of stress is meant to protect us in moments of danger. A sudden rush of adrenaline is key to rescuing yourself or someone else from harm’s way. It’s the same process that can help you brake and maneuver quickly to prevent an accident or save a child from falling.  

Good stress also looks like challenging the mind and body in a healthy way, such as preparing for a marathon, studying to complete a diploma, or getting ready for a big “I do.”  

5 Ways to cope with Stress  

  1. Minimize stress where you can 
  1. Ask for help 
  1. Prioritize health and wellness  
  1. Create a support system  
  1. Therapy  

It’s important to acknowledge that stress is multi-faceted. On one hand, we have “Good” stress, a catalyst for growth, pushing us out of our comfort zone. On the other hand, “Bad” Stress can weigh heavily and take a toll on our physical and emotional well-being.  

The secret is not to seek a stress-free existence but to learn to balance the stresses in our lives. At The Mind Spa, we are committed to helping you nurture a healthier, more balanced relationship with stress and turning it from an enemy to an ally.