When does healthy pressure become unhealthy stress?

Healthy and unhealthy stress

I was sitting in a café recently with Mark Godson, Lead Practitioner at The Mind Clinic. We were talking about healthy and unhealthy stress over our Americanos.

We’re all aware of the physical symptoms of stress. Our blood pressure rises; our breathing becomes more rapid; our digestive system slows down and our heart rate (pulse) rises.

Our immune system goes down. Meaning we are more vulnerable to illness, muscles become tense and we don’t sleep so well, due to our heightened state of alertness.

If those are the effects, what is the cause? When do the normal and often stimulating pressures we encounter become stress?

I liked Mark’s take on the matter.

‘When the pressures of life cease to be life-giving and become limiting, that is unhealthy stress,’ he said.

He then spoke of the dangers of a narrative – especially a negative one – becoming too intrusive in our lives.

The narratives will vary, of course; your stressors will be different from mine.

Each of us can be aware when a particular narrative – whether a house move, a promotion, an illness, a work situation, a family matter, a regret, an uncertainty – has become intrusive.

We notice that anxiety, fear or depression has become invasive, unpleasant…limiting.

The beginning of being well again, however, is to greet the feeling rather than denounce it.

When pressure becomes stress, it brings a message.

What message about yourself does your stress bring you and is it healthy or unhealthy stress?

If we can speak with it, listen to it, learn from it, the dark narrative may appear less dark…we may even see some light, and sense our own resources to cope…become able to respond rather than react.

Stress appears to be a dead end, a high wall of impossibility in our face.

But there’s a path from this place.

It can be explored during one of your Mind Clinic sessions courtesy of your employer – get in touch with us today to find out more.