1. Health

How Stress Can Be Good For You, And How To Get More Good Stress In Your Life

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Updated September 28, 2013

The right kind of stress can be healthy.

School can be stressful, but the challenge of learning something new can amount to "good stress." What other challenges could be good for you?

Different types of stress can impact you positively or negatively—that’s right, there is good stress as well as bad stress! Eustress, or ‘good stress’, is what keeps us feeling vital, alive, and excited about the day ahead. While it’s still possible to get too much good stress (see this article for signs of too much excitement in your life), it’s important to get enough of it, and to try to experience some of our stressors as good stress rather than a more negative form of stress. The following are ways to get more good stress into your life.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Ongoing

Here's How:

  1. Develop Relationships
    Good stress comes from putting yourself out there an forming healthy relationships. In fact, relationships can greatly increase or relieve your stress levels, depending on how we manage them. Falling in love, maintaining strong bonds with friends and family, and simply having fun with people we care about are all ways to get more good stress into our lives. (Read here for more on relationships and stress.)
  2. Set A Goal
    Good stress also comes from going after a goal, or following a dream. While we have daily responsibilities to contend with, chipping away at a goal, even in small increments, can provide excitement, positive energy, and good stress to our lives. Setting goals that improve health can bring even more benefits. (Learn more about setting goals and adopting healthy habits.)
  3. Gain Knowledge
    Not everyone enjoys school, but virtually everyone enjoys learning something new that has meaning to them. Expanding your knowledge or ability through the pursuit of adult education or hobbies can be an exciting experience. Learning something new can provide good stress, as well as skills you can use in your life, of course.
  4. Gratifications
    One particularly useful source of good stress is something that positive psychology refers to as gratifications: activities that provide just the right kind of challenge. Gratifications take more effort to enjoy than pleasures do, but they’re well worth the effort. We can fit gratifications into our lives every day, and they can bring just the type of good stress we need. (Read more about gratifications--they can lead to increased happiness and vitality!)
  5. Challenge
    Turn a potentially negative stressor into a good stress experience by shifting your perception: try to see your experience as a challenge vs. a threat. Look for opportunities you can grow from, notice the resources you have to help you deal with the situation, see what strengths you can discover or develop as you rise to the occasion. View the situation as an optimist, and you may have a positive reaction rather than a negative one.

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Tips:

  1. I invite you to make a list of sources that could provide you with more good stress in your life, like a 'bucket list' of sorts, and consult it for inspiration when you need it.
  2. Eustress is still stress, and there is such thing as too much. Learn more about how to tell if you’ve had too much stress from an exciting life, and find out how to manage that.
  3. For more stress management help, subscribe to our free weekly newsletter and explore our other ongoing stress reduction tools.

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