What is the difference between good stress and bad stress?

What is the difference between good stress and bad stress?

To me, bad stress “runs” you in a way you don’t want to be run. It brings out the “ugly” attributes of you and results in feeling nervous and tense.  You feel overwhelmed and drag as you have to force yourself to push through the stress. When you have this kind of stress, you want to break the cycle, even though whatever you will have to do to stop the chain of reaction will increase your stress short term. Often this is a result in getting “caught in the urgent” and more and more becomes urgent and it does not stop until there is a major event (i.e. heart attack, you get fired, your spouse refuses to deal with you anymore, etc.)

Both good and bad stress can be out of your control, and put some pressure on you to move forward. Good stress however can be an accountability to drive you to get things done (i.e. a deadline and means to get a project done), and also supports you to stay focused and on task. When you have good stress and you can properly prioritize and move forward with needed decisions and actions.  There is likely a thin line between good stress and bad stress, in that too much good stress might be the tipping point to bad stress. 

Much of life is how we choose to respond to it. When we choose to be overwhelmed by our stress it piles up and becomes bad stress. When you deal with each challenging situation that comes up and push through it, it can be a good stress that is a catalyst for new opportunities versus if you procrastinate and avoid, it can be a breeding spot for future bad stress.   So whatever the stress, break it down into bite size bits and get it done and keep moving!

Christy Geiger, Executive Business Coach & Trainer, Minneapolis, MN



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