Thinking about good stress (eustress) this morning. Characterized by, short-lived, infrequent, brief, positive life experiences that inspire action and leave you better than before. This experience is what I immediately though of:
An amazing experience that not only provided some "good" stress, but also pushed me out of my comfort zone. It was a brief experience, and therein lies the kicker, "good" stress should be brief.
If I jumped out of planes constantly, the inherent risks would weigh much more heavily on my allostatic load.
[The allostatic load is "the wear and tear on the body" which grows over time when the individual is exposed to repeated or chronic stress. It represents the physiological consequences of chronic exposure to fluctuating or heightened neural or neuroendocrine response that results from repeated or chronic stress. Thanks wikipedia]
Now let's chat about "bad" stress (distress). Characterized by long or chronic intervals, negative, depressing, demoralizing, demotivates and paralyzes or breaks you down — it leaves you worse off than you were before.
The same activity that is a "good" stressor one day, may be a "bad" stressor another. Whether or not this is the case is generally determined by your allostatic load—the total amount of stress (mental, emotional, and physical)—that you are experiencing.
Being able to recognize when you are properly recovering from stress is the integral component to maintaining a proper health balance.
Get out there and find your "good" stress, but remember, we all need balance and proper recovery.