Stress: A Friend or a Foe?

February 16, 2013 by  
Filed under STRESS

Everyone has had a fair share of being stressed. Life’s everyday challenges are usually more than enough for one person to carry, and not all people around you are willing to share that burden. Everyone experiences stress, but not all people deal with it in the same way. Some have effective strategies and attitudes for handling problems, but some end up buckling under pressure. Why is this so?


Stress Can Be Your Friend

Stress has always had a negative connotation to many. It is almost synonymous to the words headache, anxiety, exhaustion, or fatigue. This is actually a little unfair, because in reality, we need stress. Stressful situations present us with challenges, and these should be taken as opportunities to come up with creative solutions and strategies to solve problems. Just keep in mind that stress is basically a reaction to an anxiety-provoking situation, and this can turn into either positive or negative experiences.

Stress can be your friend if it makes you think on your feet and make good decisions under time pressure. In fact, short-term stress can be helpful to you physically, in a sense that it actually trains the body to become stronger in warding off infections or viruses. As long as stress is at a minimum to medium level, it is not a cause for alarm.

Stress Can Be a Monster

Now let’s take a look at the bad side. We all know that high levels of stress presents us with a myriad of mental and physical problems. Emotional stress especially leads to a higher risk of fatigue, nervous breakdowns, and other psychological concerns. People who usually experience high emotional stress are those who have had a traumatic event in life such as abuse, maltreatment or a death of a loved one. These events trigger negative feelings and may lead to long-term stress. Some people simply avoid stressful situations, but that is not effective at all times. Stress can definitely be felt for long periods of time, which means that you have to find ways to manage it, face it, or deal with it. Remember, when stress strikes and you are not able to control it, it ends up controlling you.

What You Should Do

To avoid falling into the dark abyss of stress, learn to ask for help. Communicate with others whom you feel comfortable with. They may not be going through the same problems as you are, but a dear friend with a listening ear may make your burden lighter. Things may be really hard for you to deal with right now, and it might seem that there is no escape, but do not be shy to admit this to yourself and to others. Be proactive and seek for help. Solve your problems, not dwell on them. Stress doesn’t always have to be the monster you should fear every day. Stressful situations can actually give you unique challenges that you can overcome in many positive ways.

About the Author

Adeline is a practicing physician specializing in family medicine. She also writes for The Family Compass, a group dedicated to helping parents deal with the turbulent teen years of their children.


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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.