Good Stress, Bad Stress, What's the Difference?

by Cynthia Jennings on September 9, 2020
In our fast-paced culture that is filled with so many uncertainties, finding balance often times feel impossible. There is so much pressure to fill up every moment of the day and the fulfillment of filling up every moment of our day is often looked at as an achievement. We all aspire balance. But the reality, balance is usually fleeting.

Where do we draw the line between the positive stress of taking care of family, meeting goals and being productive verses the bad stress that comes when we knowingly extend ourselves outside of healthy boundaries and live our life without limits.

God desires for us to live balanced lives. So how does one determine if they have lives filled with good stress or bad stress? And if burdened by bad stress how to gain balance for your life?

The balance for our lives happens when we can truthfully identify good and bad stress in our lives so that neither stress will become a burden. Granted, we all have some sort of burden that we carry. However, God does not intend for us to carry the weight of that burden alone. He wants us to give it to Him.

Good Stress happens when we get excited, our pulse gets faster and our hormones start pumping but there is no fear or threat associated with this type of stress. Good stress invigorates us! It usually comes when we are doing something we enjoy or choose to do on our own accord. One of the benefits of good stress is it helps us to grow resilience which equips us with the tools to stay emotionally healthy when faced with difficulties.

Bad Stress can also be known as distress. Identified by easily being agitated, having trouble winding down at the end of the day, feeling low self-esteem, fatigue and a general sense of feeling unwell. If not careful too much good stress can become bad stress!  

Our bodies are not made for chronic or constant stress (stress that you feel on a daily basis). This increases the likelihood that you will struggle with things like unanswered internal illness, anxiety and depression. No matter how exciting it is when we are able to “get to do something.” If we don’t give ourselves proper rest, the endeavors of “getting to do something” will start to leave us feeling overwhelmed or depleted, thus good stress turns into bad stress.

God desires for us to live a joy-filled life. Although we all go through difficult seasons, constant distress should not be our “normal.” 

Ultimately, the quest for balance involves seeking peace for our mind, bodies and homes. God’s gift to us is access to peace regardless of our circumstances.
Practical Ideas to Manage Your Stress
1. Figure out what is causing your stress. Journaling possible triggers. Once identified think about positive ways to minimize that trigger by adjusting attitude, incorporating prayer, readjusting schedules and or commitments.
2. Cultivate relationships you can rely on. Sometimes relationships can be a source of stress. Reevaluate all relationships and if needed re-establish new boundaries. On the other hand, healthy relationships can be a great source of comfort when you are feeling distress. Identify an accountable confidant that you trust to pray for and with you when you’re feeling stretched thin. Allow these people to carry some of the stress when you are feeling overwhelmed. 
3. Find things that you can do to help YOU de-stress. When we don’t allow ourselves the space to process our stress, we begin to experience more anger and frustration in our daily lives. Give yourself permission and space to release your stress by doing things that are joyful to you.
4. Get proper rest and get professional help when you need it. Sleep matters!!! When we don’t get proper rest, we become prone to putting ourselves in mental health danger. If you find yourself in a chronic constant battle with stress, anxiety, and depression, it is time to reach out for professional help. Never be afraid or ashamed to say “I NEED HELP!”
PEARLStoPONDER:  Because stress never goes away. It is important to be vigilant in investing in your own mental and physical well-being. Finding balance is an essential element of living healthy lives and being good stewards of our bodies.

Matthew 11:28-- Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

2 Corinthians 3:17-- Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

John 14:27-- Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
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