ico-article-mid-darkCreated with Sketch.2 minsChill

Invite more good stress into your life

We all experience stress.

In our busy lives, stress pops up most days. Sleeping through an alarm. Planning out a routine with our partner or family member to take shifts to keep the kids busy while getting some work done. Missing a phone call. Dealing with unread emails.

An occasional visit can be motivating. Stress produces chemicals in our bodies to help us do things outside of our comfort zone (like jumping out of bed because we slept through an alarm, are running late for a video call with the team, and have 34 unread emails).

The question for most people is not ‘how do I eliminate all stress?’ but rather, ‘how much stress is too much stress?’

Ideally, you want to maximise good stress and minimise bad stress.

What is good stress?

Good stress – also called eustress – comes from doing something exciting, and makes you feel energised, motivated, stimulated, and good about your life.

Eustress is a moderate kind of stress that focuses your attention, helps you function, and contributes to a sense of excitement and joy.

Examples of good stress

  • Going for a long run

  • Trying your hand at baking or cooking something

  • Learning something new (e.g. coding or painting)

  • Doing an exciting sport (e.g., mountain biking)

  • Starting a new job or project

  • Taking up a new hobby

Whenever you embark on a realistic, fulfilling challenge, good stress will probably be your friendly, motivating sidekick.

What is bad stress?

Bad stress – also called distress – is when stress carries on too long or involves feeling threatened or anxious.

Here are some signs you might be experiencing distress:

  • The stress feels overwhelming and difficult to shift.

  • You feel as though you’re struggling to cope.

  • The feeling is unpleasant and draining.

  • Your performance has dropped.

  • Physical symptoms such as headache, sore muscles or churning stomach.

Tips for preventing bad stress

Life is unpredictable, but there are several ways you can prevent bad stress. The challenge is finding what works for you, as everyone is different.

Here are a few evidence-based techniques to try.

  • Slow breathing

  • Meditation

  • Guided visualisation

  • Start a Gratitude Diary

  • Incorporate more good stress into your life (see below)

How to experience more good stress

Good stress acts as an antidote to bad stress because it makes you feel more motivated and excited about your life.

Here are some ideas for experiencing more good stress. As with bad stress, everyone is different – take what works for you and leave what doesn’t.

  • Regular exercise

  • Trying new hobbies

  • Making new friends

  • Learning something new

  • Cooking a complex meal

  • Getting outside your comfort zone

  • Starting a new job or project