Good stress vs. bad stress.

Consider this: a little bit of stress can be... awesome.

I know, I know.

"But Maggie, isn't your whole thing that you're helping teachers cope with stress? So it has to be the enemy, right?"

Well, pretty much. But bear with me for a sec.

Avoiding stress is impossible. Stressors come in all shapes and sizes, and will never completely go away, no matter how many times a day you meditate or how many self help books you read. But also, you wouldn't WANT stress to completely disappear, because some stressors are exactly what you need to grow, change, and learn.

Here's the difference.

Good stress:

  • Motivates you
  • Helps you accomplish more of what you need to do
  • Is relatively short-term
  • Might help you achieve a goal
  • Has a clear recovery period after it's over

Examples: deadlines, a new audacious project, doing a task just outside of your comfort zone

Bad stress:

  • Drains you
  • Stops you from doing what you need to do
  • Is chronic and persistent
  • Leaves you too fatigued, irritable, or depressed to achieve a goal
  • Has no recovery period because it just. keeps. going.

Examples: consistently crazy work demands, toxic relationships, the loss of a friend or family member

good stress bad stress blog.png

So when you're experiencing stress, pay attention to:

The timeline. How long will this last?

The overall feelings. Am I excited about this, or am I depleted?

The afterglow. How do I feel about what just happened? Can I slow down and regroup for the next round of stressors, or am I still running on empty?

This kind of awareness is the first step toward beating back bad stress for good.

What kind of stress do you experience most often? How can you tell? Let me know in the comments.

All the best,

M.