Is your stress constructive or destructive? How to make the difference between them

In psychology, stress is a feeling of strain and pressure. Stress is a type of psychological pain. Small amounts of stress may be desired, beneficial, and even healthy. Positive stress helps improve athletic performance. It also plays a factor in motivation, adaptation, and reaction to the environment. Excessive amounts of stress, however, may lead to bodily harm. Stress can increase the risk of strokes, heart attacks, ulcers, and mental illnesses such as depression.” – Wikipedia

As you can see, stress can be seen as both beneficial and harmful, but what makes the difference between those two? Also, a helpful pressure can be even called stress?

Does burnout subdue empathy
Drawing by Adrian Serghie

The stress and your level of energy

If when you think about something you feel stressed, but you also feel pumped to get that thing down, then your stress it’s probably helpful. Our emotion defines our energy levels. If you feel motivated or maybe even excited by the pressure you feel, then your stress is helpful.

The stress doesn’t feel like stress

If you cannot describe what you feel as being stress, then it’s a constructive thing. According to the definition given by Wikipedia, stress is a type of psychological pain and to quote Tony Robbins, “Pain is usually mandatory, but suffering is optional”. If you are in some sort of pain (e.g. like when you work out), but you don’t suffer because of it, then it’s a constructive stress.

You cannot get out of bed because of the stress

If this is the case, you have a problem. The stress you’re facing is destructive and it’s sucking the life out of you. You probably need to analyze where is that coming from and what can you do to change things. As stated above, stress can increase the risk of strokes, heart attacks, ulcers, and mental illnesses such as depression. Try not to get there since it really f*cks up your life.

You feel stuck

If you feel stuck because of the pressure you feel, then it’s a destructive stress. The things we do in life need to have a helpful root cause. I know that we need to do the things we hate as well and I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do them (because we need to), but we need to pay attention on the amount of time spent in that state. If it’s more than half of day every day, then you need to reconsider how your life works right now.

A little poison each day is helpful, but if you overdose each day, guess where you’re going to be?

How does your constructive stress look like?

6 thoughts on “Is your stress constructive or destructive? How to make the difference between them

Add yours

  1. It is important to look at each. One can cause more damage than good. If you are so stressed that you don’t even try to resolve the situation? It is time to take steps to fix it.

    My constructive stress usually results in making a to-do list. It also gives me the motivation to do everything on that list. I will micromanage my time, that way I know it will fit in my day.

    Liked by 1 person

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