Good and Bad Stress

Dr. Wendy  – Topic – Good and Bad Stress


Good stress is the kind of stress that makes our adrenaline kick in. Knowing that you will be challenged to use all your skills and herculean effort to get the job done is stressful. However, at the end of the day, the rewards of achievement, personal satisfaction, professional growth, overcoming obstacles, meeting deadlines and accomplishing goals makes it worthwhile. The rewards counter-balance the stress.


Bad stress can adversely affect our immune system. Bad stress is generally long term and can be summed up in one word, “worry”.  Unlike good stress, where there is an element of control, worry occurs when people lose control of outcomes and circumstances. The loss of job, downsizing and layoffs are often beyond the scope of that control.


Living in a constant state of mental stress results in changes in brain chemistry which manifests in a deterioration of physical health.  There are two major chemical changes, the decrease in serotonin and the increase in cortisol.


The harmful effect of long term stress, when serotonin remain at low levels and cortisol remains at high levels, the chemical process changes from a healthy response to a harmful one. It damages our tissue, increases vascular inflammation and has an adverse effect to our autoimmune system, increasing our susceptibility to disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.


So how do we address it? First, by being aware of the consequences of continued stress to our bodies and then, getting help to identify the source of the stress. Resultant therapy helps our clients to identify stressors and develop strategies to deal with them before causing systemic harm. Psychology’s aim is to help clients achieve their goals of health, happiness and wellbeing!