Good Stress Versus Bad Stress

Stress is a double-edged sword, whether you realize this or not. One end, helps you cut through obstacles and makes it easier for you to move forward. However, if you’re not careful, that same double-edged sword can end up hurting you, especially if you experience stress more than the average person does.

Sadly, this is the case more often than not, when the stress hormone cortisol shows its ugly side and starts to adversely affect your health.

Regardless, stress is here to stay. It does have its utility and can make you an efficient working individual. This is why it’s important to tell the difference between good and bad stress and make it work for you.

Good stress is that stimulus that makes you actually do things and motivates you. Embedded into us is this primitive response that makes us get up and go, in one way or another. This is called the fight or flight response, which makes you either face adversity or get as far from it as possible.

Good stress is usually of short duration, and of a magnitude that is just adequate to get us past a hurdle in our way. In contrast to bad stress, good stress does not have lingering effects on our brain or body and can be considered good for our survival. Good stress is also referred to as eustress.

Good stress is usually called upon in these scenarios:

• To Wake Us Up- ok, normally if you wake up in a timely manner, you probably won’t even want to get out of bed (sorry stress you failed!), but if you wake up late, then you appreciate the beauty of this response. You will get out of bed into time, and hit the door as fast as humanly possible.

• When You Are Late For Work Or School- as a species, humans have evolved to make logical thinking take precedence over primitive response, and this is generally a good thing. Such is the example of heading to work with lots of time to spare- you will not rush, but take your time to reach in. if you’re later, this response kicks in and you defy odds to try and achieve the impossible.

• Meeting Deadlines- have an impending essay due or report to turn in for your job? Then say hello to good stress. Many people actually report that they work best under pressure, or in other words, waiting for the last minute to do everything. This wouldn’t be the case under normal circumstances, but luckily, good old cortisol and adrenaline have your back.


Bad stress, sometimes referred to as distress, is that unabating burden that does not improve even after the initial stimulus has passed. Typically, it develops from prolonged exposure to the same things day after day and impairs the body’s ability to function normally, otherwise known as chronic stress.

Maladies ranging from heart disease, mental illness, reproductive dysfunction and more can result from excessive stress, and recovery is a long road.

Scenarios that are considered triggers to a heavy stress load include:

Financial Insecurity- constantly having to worry about not being able to provide for your family, or to provide a roof over their heads can be significantly harmful to your health. This is a tough influence to remove, as you can’t just wish away financial difficulties.

Relationship Deterioration– this can be with a spouse or other relative, whose poor relationship tells on your psyche. While it doesn’t bother some people, others are adversely affected by these issues for years to come.

Job Stress– feeling pressured day in and day out at your job reduces job satisfaction and can leave you feeling angry and easily agitated with those closest to you.


Manage the influences that cause bad stress to show its face. Good stress is there for us when we need it, but be sure to adequately rest and recuperate to restore homeostasis to the body.