Blog: Stress isn’t so bad after all

Molly Brim, Administrative Editor

When hearing the word stress, what comes to a person’s mind first? Is it sweaty palms, a nervous stomach? Maybe it’s a shot of adrenaline, a wake-up call to the realities of life.

In my life as a student, I think of school and the homework and tests that are piling up from each class. I think of my future and what I want to pursue. I think of how stressed I am of what I’m going to do the next day and what’s going to happen. 

I always assumed stress was always a bad thing to have, but I was wrong. Stress can actually help in many different ways and isn’t as scary as it seems.

There are two different types of stress: distress and eustress and each of them can have a profound impact.

Distress is stress that negatively impacts you. It’s the type of stress that creates a long-term nervousness, stressing the body and the mind out. An example of distress would be breaking with a significant other.

On the other hand, eustress is positive and energizes you. An example of eustress would be getting nerves for the first job interview or the nerves of getting ready for your first date.

With COVID-19 having such a big impact on the world over the years, stress has been a prominent issue among all ages, both eustress and destress.

Although there is a bad stress, if handled well, the body and mind will actually grow stronger.

Psychology teacher Krista Silvernail said that stress is not always a bad thing.

“Sometimes stress can prepare us for difficult challenges.  It is important to change our thinking about how we view stressors to see it more as a challenge than a threat.  Stress can also teach us resilience and help us to learn from our mistakes which allows us to grow,” Silvernail said.

Silvernail finds that having a healthy lifestyle is a good way to relieve stress.

“Some strategies to relieve stress include a healthy lifestyle which includes healthy eating, good sleep habits, Vitamin D and exercising.  Confronting the causes of stress can also be beneficial as well,” she said.

The Harvard Business Review article titled ‘Stress Can Be a Good Thing If You Know How To Use It’ said, “The key to ‘owning’ your stress is to recognize that we tend to stress more, and more intensely, about things that matter to us. Stress shows us that we care; that the stakes matter. Owning this realization unleashes positive motivation—because deep down, we know things that are important shouldn’t always come easy. ” 

Questions swirl about the mind if stress is not owned, and can be detrimental in all areas of life. School is known to be an actively stressful place for students, and decreases motivation in other areas of life.

Time magazine’s article, ‘How Some Stress Can Actually Be Good For You‘ said, “While heightened stress can feel overwhelming and decrease motivation, a little bit can go a long way when it comes to kickstarting your work. ‘Medium levels of stress can enhance our motivation,’ Gunthert says.”

When I’m stressed, sometimes I feel a little bit less or more motivated than usual. I sometimes will do stuff I don’t typically want to do like clean my room, or get a head start on my homework for next week. But when I do, what helps me the most is talking to family and friends. I have people in my life that are good listeners when I need to rant. Usually my mom can tell when something is bothering me or I am stressed, and when I tell her what’s going on, my stress is easily relieved.

I take a prescribed medication for my stress. Even though I am taking that to help me with stress, it still doesn’t make it go away. However, any little thing can make it better. There are so many different ways that can relieve the stress on many different levels, so long as the coping skills can remain consistent.

To the eyes, stress seems like a scary word, but you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Stress can be a good thing, so long as there are ways to manage it.