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When I was a teenager, I was told that when I grew up, my life would be more stressful. This made me scared of stress because all I knew it would ruin my life. The more I was scared of it, the more stressed I got. I wish I could live with stress free, but I can’t because I need to study, I need to work, and I have a family to take care of. I told myself that I couldn’t live my life in fear like this. That’s when I started to learn how to handle it. I still don’t want the stress, but I am just not panic as I was when it happens.

Everyone will experience different stress at some point in our life. It’s inevitable, but manageable. Most of us might think stress is bad, but studies say not all stress is bad. Knowing how to make the best of it can help you enhance your performance and become a stronger person. To do so, you need to know 2 things -causes and types of stress.

Causes or Stressors

Stress can be triggered by an event, a person or a thing, depriving you of a feeling of joy, ease, high self-esteem and confidence. Stress factors called stressors including chronic illness, overworking, overthinking, toxic working environment or boss, family issues, financial difficulties, failures in work or study etc.

Types of Stress

Stress is categorized into two-good and bad. Knowing the stress types can help you determine when you need to seek help from others.

Let’s first talk about Good Stress. Good stress is short-term and endurable, and it inspires and motivates you, and stimulate your performance. You might feel this type of stress when you compete in a game, deliver a speech, or have tight deadlines, for instance. Usually, you can deal with it without assistance from others. Let’s look at the following scenario.

“You are university student as well as a part time staff for a company. One day you receive tight deadlines for both -tasks at work and school assignments, which makes you feel overwhelmed”.

In this case, you feel stressed because you don’t know how to manage your priority. After resolving this issue, you will find yourself becoming better at managing your time and tasks. If you experience this, to remove your stress, perhaps you could:

  • prioritize your tasks: list down what you will have to do, set priority from the most to least urgent, break them down, and do it step by step.
  • automate tasks: make use of any available equipment, tools or other resources you have to do the tasks rather than do it yourself.
  • learn to Say “NO”: Always saying “YES” is torturing yourself. Learn to say “NO” when necessary, for example, the task or thing that distracts you from completing your main tasks.

Now we’re done with the good stress. So when is the stress considered to be bad for you? If the stress causes you critical and chronic health problems and permanently makes you depressed, it is a RED FLAG, and is a sign that you are having too much stress. This kind of stress is considered as Bad Stress which is not endurable.

“For example, you work in a very unhealthy working environment brimmed with toxic people. You always feel physically and emotionally exhausted. You cannot feel relaxed and have a good sleep every single night, for you always worry and think about the pressure and problems you will have to deal with at your workplace tomorrow. In your head, it is full of anxiety, fear and worry. Sometimes in the morning, you wake up with tear when thinking about going to work. You wish the day ended faster, and the weekend ended more slowly. Finally, you reach to the point where you can no longer take it.”

Unlike the good stress, the bad stress can affect your body, thoughts and feelings. Here are some effects of stress on your health and body.

  • physical and emotional fatigue
  • loss of interest in events, activities or people
  • loss of appetite
  • sleeping problem
  • weight loss or gain
  • Aches and pains
  • Moodiness, irritability, or anger
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Seeing only the negative
  • Loneliness and isolation, etc.

If you experience this stress as in the scenario above, perhaps the only solution is to change your job since there is no sign of improvement. Then, you need to heal yourself by giving yourself a short break, exercising, spending time doing activities you enjoy, visiting some places, watching inspirational or motivational videos, reading your favorite books, or spending time with your beloved people and staying away from negative people or things. 

In short, accept that stress is a part of your progress. You might not always be able to escape it, but you can handle it successfully if you’re aware of it and know how to cope with it.