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Good Stress vs. Bad Stress: What’s the Difference?

“There’s not enough time in the day.” How many times have you heard that, or said it yourself? Probably more than you can count. So it’s no surprise that just like death and taxes, we can probably also always count on stress being a part of our lives.

Of course, there is good stress and there is bad stress.

Good stress comes in the form of a job promotion, a wedding, the birth of a new addition to the family, or taking a long-awaited vacation. Other examples of good stress would be learning a new skill, taking up a new hobby, going back to school, or the excitement of an upcoming holiday celebration.

Bad stress, on the other hand, can be seen in losing a job, financial worries, relationship woes, or loneliness.

Good stress naturally includes a desired outcome. For instance, the stress of a job promotion is tempered by a pay raise. The stress of planning a wedding results in a happy wedding day.

Take a look at bad stress situations, and they usually don’t have a definable outcome, so there isn’t a resolution.

By taking a bad stress situation and attaching a realistic desired outcome, you create a positive out of a negative. Now you can take action steps to attaining that desired outcome, instead of simply letting negative thoughts and worries take over your mind.

In order to accomplish this, of course, you must first be able to detect the stress, and label it good or bad. Then, you must be willing to turn the bad around and create a positive situation from it.

Our brains can’t tell the difference between the two types of stress – so with either good or bad stress comes the physical reaction of the brain releasing the stress hormone called cortisol.

Cortisol is the “fight or flight” hormone that enables us to get up and moving in a stressful situation. This was very useful in hunting-and-gathering times, but is less useful today as we simply do not need this hormonal response in the ways or in the amounts that we used to.

Be willing to take a deeper look at your stressful situations so that you can decide to flip it around if necessary. Create goals that attach to negative stress, and then work the steps necessary to achieve those goals.

Take control over your stress, and you’ll see a noticeable difference in your life!

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