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Stress: Good or Bad?

The world is a tricky place now – technically we are in a double dip recession, pay day feels a million miles away (but just happened) and work is asking you to do more with less. The Corner Office would consider this all pretty stressful. Lots of articles are written about how to avoid stress. But is all stress considered bad?

According to Tony Schwarz of The Energy Project and blogger for Harvard Business Review, no, all stress isn’t considered bad. Mr. Schwarz says, “We live by the myth that stress is the enemy in our lives. The real enemy is our failure to balance stress with intermittent rest. Push the body too hard for too long — chronic stress — and the result will indeed be burnout and breakdown. But subject the body to insufficient stress, and it will weaken and atrophy.” Schwarz goes on to describe that we lose an average of one percent of muscle mass per year after thirty. By keeping constant stress in your life, you can bolster yourself (physically and mentally) to prevent that loss.

Keeping with the idea that all stress isn’t bad, we can all reflect on when and for how long we feel stressed. Do you feel like your heart is racing all day long? Is it only in the morning during your commute? Once you evaluate when and for how long you are stressed, you can find a solution.

To get back to basics, how can you avoid the chronic stress? I can hear you laughing – yes, it is possible. The normal rules apply:

1. Keep physically active – This will help you burn off that angst

2. Avoid alcohol – We all know that sometimes a drink after a long day will set the world right. Excessive alcohol can leave to even greater stress and usually results in poor sleep patterns.

3. Avoid caffiene – The Corner Office loves their morning coffee as much as the next person. We’ve been even known to indulge in a Diet Coke before noon. But all that caffiene makes your heart beat faster and body work harder. Cutting out caffiene can also help you sleep at night.

3. Get a good night sleep – Falling asleep sometimes seems the hardest thing when you are stressed. Adopt a routine to ease you into a relaxation point. Keep a notebook by your bed to write down all the things on your mind.

4. Talk to your boss – If your stress is based around work, talk to your boss. They might have some good ideas to help alleviate the stress you are feeling.

Do you know any other tips for stress reduction? Let us know!


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  1. jg | May 13, 2012 | Reply

    is the first paragraph meant to say do more with less?

  2. Working Girl | May 15, 2012 | Reply

    Yes! Thanks for catching that. I have updated the article.

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