What first thought pops into your mind when you hear or read the word “stress”?

For me, the first thing that comes to mind is that stress is something negative and that all of us should avoid it as the plague.

Alright, first things first.

What is stress?

According to the Oxford Dictionary here are some definitions:

  • pressure or worry caused by problems in somebody’s life or by having too much to do
  • physical pressure put on something that can damage it or make it lose its shape
  • illness caused by difficult physical conditions

Oh my, it looks like I’m right in my assumption that stress should be kept at bay.

Let’s take a closer look.

The World Health Organisation brings a comprehensive approach.

Stress can be defined as a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation. Stress is a natural human response that prompts us to address challenges and threats in our lives

Hmm… is stress still a villain? Let’s discuss it.

There are two types of stress. One hinders us and the other one prompts us. Let’s name them, unhealthy and healthy stress.

Unhealthy Stress

This is the type of stress I mentioned in the first lines of this article which pops into my mind when I hear or read the word stress. This is associated with cortisol, a hormone that affects our body and mind badly causing diseases like high blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and so on.

Situations like working at full throttle, trying to hit a target ignoring signs of the body’s need for resting and having a break, and trying to solve someone’s problems (problems that we know we have nothing to do with but still want to control the situation), or being short-fused when something doesn’t go your way, stress us out.

These situations above might be inevitable eventually.

Here are some drawbacks caused by this type of stress: bad mood, sleep deprivation, eating disorders, anxiety, and so on.

Healthy Stress

On the other hand, there is the type of stress that is a natural response to challenges in life. They are inevitable and very welcome because they push us forward to achieve our goals.

For example, if we want a better job, to get it we should study our asses off to achieve it. Planning, studying, reviewing, practicing, all of that is tiring and necessary work to reach what we want to achieve. There’s no shortcut. We might want to make the process lighter by not engaging in full-time tasks to reach our goal for the sake of not getting stressed. Still, the point is that we won’t reach our goal or we won’t reach your goal fast, especially if there’s a kind of competition in the field that might have other people well versed and we’re still an amateur trying to get our feet yet because we don’t want to be stressed.

This type of stress is positive because it prompts us to get what we desire, to things we want to pursue. I’m all for peace and quiet, although manageable stress is necessary to grow and thrive.

Bottom line

If stress is bad or good it will depend on us and the circumstances. The main point is to keep the stress under control. Stress is important to keep us moving. We can’t just sit down and do things according to our mood. For instance, if we feel like doing it, do it. If not, don’t do it. No. Wrong. We should plan and work on our plan consistently with balance. Soon, we’ll see the fruits bearing out.

An unstressful lifestyle might bring peace of mind and fleeing pleasure but it’ll prevent us from living our life fully. So throw the chance to live a rich life through the window because you want to do things at your unstressful pace. Life doesn’t wait. It happens here and now.


Shirley is an avid learner, interested in self-development, healthcare, and mindfulness. As an English learner, she spreads the word about her process of learning English, that it might help someone in their process.

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