There are two types of stress: eustress and distress.
Eustress is good, positive stress. Working toward goals or taking a vacation can be stressful, but in a positive way.
However, when most of us talk about stress, we’re referring to distress.
Consider the negative impact stress can have on your health:
1. Stress can lead to weight gain. Studies have shown that higher levels of stress frequently reduce the desire to exercise. Stress also has a negative effect on the ability or desire to make healthy food choices.
- Excess weight is dangerous, especially considering that it can lead to a variety of serious medical conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and sudden death. If you’re struggling with your weight, consider the amount of stress in your life.
2. Stress can disrupt your sleep. If you’ve ever noticed what a lack of sleep can do to your mood, it’s easy to imagine what it does to your body. When you’re stressed, it can be difficult to fall and stay asleep. Your body and mind need the restoration provided by sufficient sleep.
3. Stress increases the likelihood of serious illness. High levels of stress have been shown to result in a higher prevalence of serious illnesses. Societies and professions with high levels of stress tend to experience the poorest health.
4. Stress has a negative impact on your immune system. Physical and emotional stressors have a detrimental effect on immune system function. This not only makes you more susceptible to catching a cold or other mild illnesses, but it also increases the risk of cancer. Your immune system plays a vital role in the destruction of cancerous cells.
Stress is a powerful force that has an undesirable impact on your physical health. Decreasing the amount of stress in your life greatly enhances your overall health and chances for longevity. Creating positive habits can help to minimize stress.
Stress also influences your happiness and sense of well-being:
1. Stress can negatively affect your mood. Stress is believed to be a leading cause of depression. We’ve all had that feeling of being trapped and miserable during times of excessive or chronic stress. It’s difficult to have a positive outlook toward the future if stress is a big part of your life.
2. Stress can negatively affect your relationships. Whether it arises from money, parenting, work, family issues, or other personal situations, stress can make relationships much more difficult to manage.
Stress and happiness rarely go together. Reducing your stress will likely lead to greater peace, harmony, and happiness.
Our lives are largely the result of our habits. It’s easy to see the impact that habits, both positive and negative, have on our lives.
Brushing your teeth each day has a profound impact on the condition of your teeth. Missing a day here and there has little impact, but brushing on a regular basis has a very positive outcome.
Failing to brush your teeth regularly has a very negative effect, and brushing your teeth occasionally doesn’t help much. Your dentist will unlikely be able to tell whether you brushed your teeth 10 times or 0 times over the last 6 months. It’s the habit of brushing that provides positive results.
Similarly, there are many habits that can reduce your stress and promote the harmony we all crave. Again, these habits won’t accomplish much if only used sparingly. It’s important to make a daily habit of them.
Remember that stress is something you often do to yourself. Being yelled at by your boss isn’t necessarily stressful. It’s your resulting thoughts that create stress. Some examples might include:
- Does this mean I’m going to get fired?
- How will my family survive?
- I’ll never get a promotion. I’ll be stuck in this job forever.
- I really need that raise. Now it won’t happen.
- My boss hates me. I hate my job. How did I end up here?
Can you see how more positive mental habits could result in less stress? Although these mental habits might be deeply ingrained, they can be altered for the better.