Good stress vs bad stress: How to tell the difference?

Are you stressed? Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.
Good stress vs bad stress: How to tell the difference?Good stress vs bad stress: How to tell the difference?
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Be it exam time or just a presentation at work, feeling stressed is just normal. Some people are successful in their goal even in stress, while some fail for that very reason. This difference is simply a thin line that makes huge life changes for different people.

How one interprets stress can make a world of difference. A reason for this can be anything like low self-esteem, individual differences, past experiences or parenting styles. The only way to fight this dissimilarity is to pay attention and be mindful to one’s feelings and responses, this doesn’t mean changing one’s mindset but only the perspective.

Dr Kedar Tilwe - Consultant Psychiatrist; Department of Mental Health & Behavioural Sciences at Fortis Hospital, Mumbai lists out the major differences between good stress and bad stress.

Good stress or Eustress

It is the kind of response to stress which enables you to perform better or ensures a healthy response to an ongoing stressor. It ensures greater productivity, happiness and a sense of achievement. For example, if an athlete is stressed before his sports event, it is only to direct the energy into a positive preparation or motivation for the game.

Bad stress or Distress

It ensures the precipitation of a negative response to ongoing stress, resulting in decreased output, decreased performance and leads to a sense of dejection. For example, a student harms himself or gets involved in drugs just because of the stress of not getting in the top college or university.

“Eustress ensures optimal performance whereas distress results in below par outcome and can result in precipitation of physical and mental illnesses,” Dr Tilwe adds.

As Amy Morin said: “Everyone has the ability to increase resilience to stress. It requires hard work and dedication, but over time, you can equip yourself to handle whatever life throws your way without adverse effects on your health. Training your brain to manage stress won't just affect the quality of your life, but perhaps even the length of it.”


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