Is all stress bad?

Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s what helped our hunter-gatherer ancestors survive, and it’s just as important in today’s world. It can be healthy when it helps you avoid an accident, meet a tight deadline, or keep your wits about you amid chaos.

We all feel stressed at times, but what one person finds stressful may be very different from what another finds stressful. An example of this would be public speaking. Some love the thrill of it and others become paralyzed at the very thought.

Stress isn’t always a bad thing, either. Your wedding day, for example, may be considered a good form of stress.

But stress should be temporary. Once you’ve passed the fight-or-flight moment, your heart rate and breathing should slow down and your muscles should relax. In a short time, your body should return to its natural state without any lasting negative effects.

On the other hand, severe, frequent, or prolonged stress can be mentally and physically harmful.

And it’s fairly common. When asked, 80% of Americans reported they’d had at least one symptom stress in the past month. 20% reported being under extreme stress.

Life being what it is, it’s not possible to eliminate stress completely. But we can learn to avoid it when possible and manage it when it’s unavoidable.