Established, since 1997, leading UK based training provider.

Is Stress Bad for You?

Is Stress Bad For You?

Many people speak of stress in the same way as they might speak of a deadly disease. They may speak of stress as if it were inherently bad, like the E-bola virus.

But the truth is, stress is not always bad for you. Some stress can even be good for you.

This is because humans are adaptive organisms.

Good Stress

As an adaptive organism, your body is designed by nature to respond to its environment. You live in a "Stimulus - Response" world. In other words a "Stress - Response" world.

In order to get a positive response, you need first to impose some kind of stress, which acts as stimulus for the adaptive response.

Three examples of "Stress-stimulus leading to an Adaptive-response":

  • You lie in the sun and expose yourself to a sunlight stress. The result is a beautiful tan and a nice supply of vitamin D.
  • You run around the block and you expose yourself to an exercise stress. The result is a nicer figure and a healthier heart.
  • You enter yourself for an exam and you expose yourself to the intellectual stress of study. The result is a higher level of education and maybe a promotion.

Therefore stress is the beginning of an adaptive response.

Stress is not inherently bad, stress can be good for you.

Bad Stress

If some stress is good, more stress is not necessarily better.

Problems start when you fail to manage the amount of stress that you are exposing yourself to.

  • Too much sunlight will burn you.
  • Too much running will injure you.
  • Too much intellectual stress will cause a mental collapse.

So you need to manage your exposure to stress.

How can you manage stress?

First, you need to understand that all stressors have three components. Intensity, duration and frequency.

  • Intensity: refers to the strength of the stress, for example a sprint is more intense than a jog.
  • Duration: refers to the length of time you are exposing yourself to a single instance of the stress. For example, a five minute run is less stressful than a one hour run, at the same pace.
  • Frequency: refers to the number of times you engage in a stressful situation. Training once a week for example, is less stressful than training every day.

There is an optimum balance between these three components that will produce the perfect balance. A balance between pushing yourself towards ever higher levels of performance, and recuperating sufficiently to allow for recovery from the stresses imposed by the demands of that achievement.

Your task is to manage the intensity, duration and frequency of your stresses so that you remain stressed enough to induce forward progression, but not so over stressed that you lose your capacity to enjoy life or damage your health.

Live in the optimum zone

Balance the intensity, duration and frequency of your stresses, in order to have sufficient stimulus for improvement, whilst managing the stress enough so you can enjoy life. Live in the optimum zone.

Remember that the higher the intensity of the stress, the less frequently you can expose yourself to that stress. On the other hand, the less intense the stress, the more frequently you are able to expose yourself to the stress. It's all about balance.

Quiz: How Good Are You at Managing Stress?

Try our Stress Questionnaire and discover exactly how good you are at dealing with stress.

Personal Development Training Personal Development Training Course Logo

Personal Development Training

In order to improve your performance, you may need to develop your personal and professional skills: meaning: skills of communication, planning, prioritisation, motivation and personal confidence. If you want to learn more, then click here for personal development training.

Blogs by Email

Do you want to receive an email whenever we post a new blog? The blogs contain article 5-10 minutes long - ideal for reading during your coffee break!

Your Comments

Further Reading in Stress Management

  • Practical Stress management training
    Practical Stress management training Definition of "Stress": Stress is: A mental and physiological reaction to the environmental pressures and the associated meanings given to them. Definition of "Stress Management" Is the art of controlling: The focus of your mind The physical state of your body So as to create optimum em...
    Read Article >
  • How to manage stress - stress is not a disease
    How to manage stress - Stress is not a disease The first thing to know is this: Stress is not a disease. Stress is the trigger for adaptive improvements. Indeed the absence of stress is bad: if you take all the pressure off a muscle then it gets weaker. If you...
    Read Article >
  • How to Handle Stress
    Not all stress is bad for you. Stress can be good for you. It depends on what kind of stress it is; and how you deal with it.
    Read Article >
  • Stress management and time management training
    Stress management and time management training Stress management and time management go together Many people are feeling stressed: and part of the reason is their lack of time management skills. So you can think "Stress" and "Time management" are like twins: where one is, the other is close at hand. Here...
    Read Article >
  • Top tips for stress management
    Ten top tips for stress management What is "Stress"? In our context, stress can be defined as: "A mental and physiological reaction to work pressures and the meanings that you give to them" What is "Stress management"? "Stress management" is the art of orchestrating: The intensity, duration and frequency of stressors...
    Read Article >