Good Versus Bad Stress
Question: Recently you talked about job-related stress and exercise. But don't sports also put stress on your body?
Answer: Stress is the body's response to any demand made on it. Demands can be physical, such as a workout or playing a sport, but more often the kinds of demands that are placed on us are mental or emotional. Don't forget that stress has a positive side. Stress, like pain, is not an enjoyable part of our lives but it serves an important purpose. It alerts us to the fact that we must activate our defenses. It compels us to action, just as it compelled our ancient ancestors, who, when being chased by predators, could suddenly flee or fight, or somehow find a way to safety.
Challenges in our lives that lead to stress can also lead to better performance and a sense of accomplishment. When we are under stress we find the physical and mental reserves necessary to tackle the job, finish the race or solve the problem. We need some stress. It helps us handle the difficulties of everyday life. But we also need to minimize the stress in our lives and to learn to cope better with stress and anxiety. Learning to cope better is the key to achieving mental balance, which in turn leads us on our way to better health.