My Year By Design

The journey to living by design.

Good Stress, Bad Stress

I’ve been thinking a lot about stress lately; not just managing stress, but also what stress is. The dictionary definition of stress is, “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances”. Our bodies are meant to deal with stress but like all things in life, it’s about balance. Too much stress and we crash, not enough stress and we are unmotivated. I think there are constantly positive and negative stressors at work in all our lives. I decided to test out how each type of stress affects my thinking. I used Wordles to illustrate my theory. I gave myself three minutes to type out words I associate with negative stress, repeating words as often as they came to mind for me. Then I did the same thing for positive stress. The Wordles (word clouds) I created are below.

The negative aspects of stress:


The positive aspects of stress:


So from this little experiment I have learned that I am afraid of negative stress and my main fear is that I will end up alone. This makes sense as I have a wonderful support system and without my caring people I don’t think I’d be very healthy right now. On the other side of things, positive stress makes me feel powerful because I can accomplish goals and manage my anxiety. Obviously, I still need stress in my life but my next step will be trying to experience more positive stressors and seeing my negative stressors more positively so I can overcome them. Although I can’t eliminate or fully control stress, I can choose to manage it better and make myself happier in the process.


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