When we talk about stress, we should keep in mind that not all stress is bad and that some stress is even vital.
It is needed for the development of the species, be it a human or any other mammal. Maybe you have heard the proverb “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”. It may sound exaggerated, but it’s true. Think about it: In order for you to progress in anything, you need to be put first under pressure, or stress.
– What do you think that you do when working out or exercising? You put your muscles under stress so that they get used to it. And the next time they will be more prepared for it. They will grow and adapt themselves.
– Or what do you do when learning something like a new language? You challenge yourself. You progress, you learn and the next time it will be much easier than the first time.
The world is a very competitive place. Think about yourself, your possessions, and desires as a small soap bubble in a bath. Now imagine that there are zillions of bubbles outside and each one is pressing against the others. In order to get your will through (be it survival, fitness, success in the job, etc), you need to hold the pressure from inside or even push back. This inner pressure is stress.
Stress is what is keeping everything going. If we were relaxed and happy all the time, the world wouldn’t progress anywhere. But, luckily, we all have desires that are against the will of somebody else. This creates competition and makes our world tick.
You see, stress is not evil. What is evil and can lead to different mental and physical health problems is constant stress.
If you are into bodybuilding you may know that too long and too many workouts are not beneficial and even counterproductive. Your muscles need rest to grow.
This also applies to anything else that is stressful. For example, your job: You can work hard, support much stress, but rest is also very important to avoid diseases and burning out. And, like in bodybuilding, your productivity even decreases if you don’t give yourself the needed resting time.
Stress is not evil, too much stress without rest is.
A good rest must be relaxing. Many people think that they are resting while they are not. That is what stress management is all about: To teach you to relax. Meditation, breathing techniques, music, etc. – everything can help, but, like in stress, something that is relaxing for one person maybe not for another.
All the different relaxation techniques are beyond the scope of this article, but I hope I made you think about what stress really is and, maybe, change your point of view.