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Stress is something we all face very frequently. It could be because of our deadlines closing in, relationship problems or more. Sometimes, we even start to panic and act recklessly. But could stress have any benefits for us, or is it 100% harmful to our mental and physical wellbeing? In this article, I will discuss how stress can be harmful, yet beneficial if used correctly and appropriately. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter. Without any further ado, let’s hop right in!
How Stress Can Be Harmful
#1: It Causes Anxiety
When you are pressured, you naturally start to worry. Negative thoughts start to invade your mind and you start to imagine all the worst case scenarios possible. You start to have difficulty sleeping, cold sweat and become unable to concentrate. Even when there is no danger, you start to see it everywhere. Your body becomes overly alert and wary. If left untreated or unresolved, this could potentially harm your physical and mental wellbeing.
#2: Difficulty Controlling Your Emotions
Irritability is a common symptom of stress, too. We naturally become defensive as stress triggers the fight-or-flight response in our bodies. This builds upon symptom #1, where anxiety can lead to your body perceiving normally harmless events as threats. When this happens, you naturally lose self-control and may even throw tantrums. Many people end up acting recklessly if they are unable to control their emotions or thoughts.
#3: Bad Habits Start to Resurface
Your levels of willpower decrease as the feelings of stress kick in, and self-control is lost as well. When this happens, old habits start to pop up again. For example, some people start stress-eating while others start chain smoking in a bid to reduce their feelings of stress. Suddenly, you can’t stop what you are doing as it is too addictive and you relapse on the bad habits you had once kicked.
#4: Lowered Immune System
Stress reduces the body’s ability to fight off antigens and you become more vulnerable to becoming infected by numerous diseases. Your body’s ability to recover is also impeded due to inadequate sleep, which is caused by excessive worrying. Feelings of anxiety also causes your heart rate and breathing rate to increases, thereby causing feelings of tiredness.
However, if controlled and contained, healthy amounts of stress can be helpful too.
How Stress Can Be Beneficial
#1: It Provides Motivation
A healthy amount of stress helps to fight off feelings of laziness and procrastination. It creates a sense of urgency that urges you to act. This helps in completing tasks and avoids the last-minute rush. “But how?” you might ask. For a student, the heaps of content tested in an exam and the fear of failure is enough to spur him/her to revise early. However, as you have read above, do not stress yourself excessively.
#2: It Makes You Battle-Hardened
A healthy amount of stress can help us to be resilient. While it can feel overwhelming, it can train us to be calm and detached in times of crisis. As as result, we are not easily beaten down and are able to make sound decisions even when times are desperate. The feelings of fear and anxiety are now insignificant as you have been trained for it.
Stress is part of a meaningful life. Without it, we would not have the motivation to do anything. However, too much of it can destroy and shut us down. In other words, stress is a double-edged sword. The key to it all is moderation; not too much and not too little. A good amount of stress can help us to achieve our goals in life and push us on. If this article was in any way helpful to you, do consider liking this post. Thanks for reading!