Stress – a new perspective

For years I’ve been thinking of stress as something bad and something that file000324750683should be avoided if possible. Then I learned that depending on the situation it can be both good and bad. But one day I heard something that made me reconsider my view on stress completely. I got a whole new perspective on stress.

On the bad side

We have all heard about the negative aspects of stress. It seems like a lot of people today are feeling stressed out and more and more people get burned out.

The health effects are many: heart problems, obesity, headaches, depression, anxiety, accelerated ageing and premature death are a few that often are mentioned.

If you live with stress for a longer time or if it happens too often, we can see these negative effects. You can experience headaches, an upset stomach, back pain, a weakened immune system and you might have trouble sleeping. You could be moody, tense or even depressed. In the long run it might affect your relationships and work.IMG_0077 - Copy copy

On the good side

Stress can also be good – when you have it in proper amounts. When you are stressed you are more focused and get more done. If you have a time limit you suddenly have to prioritize. You can work harder or react more quickly. This is good during shorter periods – it’s when the stress continues that it starts to have a negative effects on you and your body.

A new prospectiveWoman Flower

Then I saw a TED talk that made me think again. Is stress really good or bad? Or is it just the perspective? How we view it? Is stress dangerous if we think it is, but not if we don’t think it is? How much does our mind influence us? You must see this interesting talk made by Kelly McGonigal. She is a health psychologist and she really made me question my own opinion…

20 Replies to “Stress – a new perspective”

  1. Hi Marie
    Very interesting perspective on stress in the TED talk you link to. I think it is when our body functions are affected by the stress we feel that we really get problems. I think I will have to rewatch the talk to get more benefit from it.
    Thanks for your article

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the TED talk, Glyn. It really made me think! You are right, it’s a good idea to rewatch it. I’ll do that too!

  2. Hello, Marie!
    Lately, I live with constant stress and I worry more because of the fact that it is harmful to health. It is very useful to know about the positive side of this. Thank you for let know about the new prospective! God bless you!

    • Hello Olga, did you see the TED talk? It completely changed the way I look at stress. I hope your situation will improve. To live with stress for a while is not so bad, but if you live with constant stress for a long time it could be very hard. I had a period when I had a hard time to get out of bed – luckily I’m one of the most stubborn persons I know so I managed to get up every morning. At that time I had lived under stress for almost eight years. For every year the stress increased and one day my body told me I had to do something about it. That was the beginning to this site. I hope you will find solutions faster than I did. You can contact me if you would like any support. Marie

  3. I saw this TED talk a few months ago and it really helped me feel better about things in dealing with short term stressers. I agree that she makes perfect sense in her talk and when I think about it biologically, it’s true and logical. Everyone should view this video.

    • Hi Sarah, so glad you enjoyed watching the TED talk. It makes perfect sense, but made me reconsider everything I knew about stress.

  4. I want to add one more bad side effect to stress-the social aspect.

    Stressed out parents are among the worst things that could happen to the children the house. No kid wants to come home from school, and get all their parent’s frustration thrown at them .

    I must watch this TED lecture when I get home, thank you!

  5. Some good points in here…I reckon a bit of stress keeps you sharp …you got to be able to swim out there with the other fish …too much can be a killer though ….lots of food for thought in here …good content.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Andrew, glad you like it. Stress can be good and it can be bad for you. Since I’m writing a lot about how to deal with stress – bad stress – I wanted to write a little about when stress is good too. Every coin has two sides!

  6. I have lived under tremendous stress most of my life and haven’t dealt well with it. It resulted in a lot of stomach problems. I have learned to handle it better now since I know that it can’t be avoided. However, I found this video very interesting. I never thought that stress could also be seen as positive.
    Very good article!!

    • Hello Emilie, it is hard to deal with stress a good way. Sorry you got lot of stomach problems, hope it is better now. My health was also starting to get effected when I was stressed out. That is why I like the video; it gives me the chance to look at stress a new way.

  7. Hi Marie!

    That TED talk was eye-opening for me! I do experience a LOT of stress at work and at home. After reading the transcript, I have a new respect for how our views on stress affect our bodies. I will be re-reading the transcript to make sure I soak it in good!! And I’ve decided to change my mind about stress!
    Thanks for posting this! I really needed it!


    • Hi Beckie! An amazing talk, wasn’t it? Now, when I start to feel the stress I remind myself that stress can be something good and help me. Then I usually feel a little less stressed. I’m not so stressed about being stressed 🙂 Marie

  8. Totally agree with you and others on using stress as a motivator — I’m much more productive with a tight deadline. It’s a fine line though, sometimes an IMPOSSIBLE deadline can be a motivation killer.

    Great read.

    • Thanks Don. How we react to stress depends on the situation I think. Stress can be a motivator that makes things done. On the other hand, if there is too much that has to be done or something that is impossible (like an impossible deadline) the stress levels increase in a bad way. I’m learning how to priorities. When everything is not equally important it is easier to handle the stress.

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