We all experience stress. Yet, some stress is good for you and some stress is bad for you. Good stress occurs when the results from the stress are more valuable to you than the harm (if any) caused by the stress itself. Bad stress occurs when the damage caused by the stress is greater than the value of the results received. The key to managing stress is to discover which stress you are allowing to affect you that is good for you and which is bad for you then reduce or eliminate the bad stress.

Example of good stress

Weight lifters and athletes purposefully place their body under physical stress that tears down muscle fiber, so their body will rebuild even more muscle and make them bigger and stronger. The end results from this planned stress are good for these people.

Example of bad stress

People create unacceptable and damaging stresses every day when they react to imagined fears and other outside forces (mostly imagined) and override their own priorities, desires, and beliefs. For example, when people allow their bosses to dictate their lives so they will receive high income, power, status, or acclaim, bad stress usually occurs. These people frequently neglect or even abandon their personal integrity, personal lives, their family, loved ones, and their spirituality by constantly reacting to the needs of the corporation. The immediate monetary and power gratifying rewards can appear to be worth much more than the sacrifices made and the damage caused by the stress of reacting to the demanding whims and will of the corporate bosses or company expectations. However, this stress will eventually cause people considerable harm, because of the damage caused by neglecting other aspects of their life.

Unfortunately, this type of bad stress is much more difficult to pin point because it is easily disguised and hidden by the busy activity people fall into and the euphoria of apparent success. This type of stress normally builds up over time to reach a level that eventually causes more damage to the people than the value of all of the rewards they ever received. Look at the number of “successful people” who have apparently fallen apart under this self imposed stress, even when they appeared to have great success with power, money and acclaim. These people didn’t fall from grace, they did it to themselves, because they allowed bad stress to build up and cause them more damage than they could manage.

Example of a common destructive quick fix to temporarily mask bad stress

One method many people use to temporarily hide the damaging affects of bad stress is to use mind-altering drugs that only temporarily block out the acceptance of external fears and pressures. (Recent reports showed that over 22 million Americans are dependent on mind-altering drugs) But, once these drugs wear off, people return to accepting the pressures from their bosses, their spouses, their parents, their children, their customers, their government, their rivals, their competitors, etc., and the bad stress and the accompanying damages return.

How to reduce or eliminate bad stress

The first step to reduce and/or eliminate bad stress is to discover your own true values, goals, and priorities, which are an integral part of who you are – your subconscious self. Once you know and understand your true inner subconscious feelings and values, you will be able to recognize what outside forces you have been allowing to control you, and which forces conflict with your inner values and feelings. You can reduce the conflicts of bad stress by allowing your own desires, integrity, priorities and values to take center stage and have a greater control over your life.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, executing this change of control can appear to be a scary undertaking, especially if you are not sure about what your true values are. However, when you truly know yourself, reducing bad stress is easier than you think. For example, if you truly enjoy working 10-12 hours a day and have a passion for participating in creating something at work, whether with a corporation or on your own, and you recognize and accept the conflicts this causes with your other priorities, then your bad stress will be minimal. Yet, this type of stress is normally acceptable for only short periods of time. You will want to monitor it and not allow it to reach a damaging level. You will want to stay in touch with your own priorities, passions and values, many of which will change with time and circumstance, to make sure you are not allowing previously accepted outside forces to override your new priorities and values.

Example of a normal life event that can create bad stress, if not managed

One example of the quick changing priorities is what happens to a married couple when they have their first child. Boy do priorities, values and passions change overnight. Both parents will undergo considerable bad stress if they continue to allow their bosses, or parents, or their friends to control their lives, at the expense of their baby. The new parents will have to alter the affect of other forces and greatly reduce their reactions to these forces that conflict with the baby. This might entail creating or finding new environments and circumstances where they can work and live and take care of their baby first with a minimum of conflicts. Likewise, parents will want to recognize their own wants and needs and fulfill them, without allowing their baby to completely dominate their life. Parenthood is a choice and the bad stress will be reduced or eliminated when parenting coincides with the priorities, passions and values of the parents.

Managing bad stress will change your life and allow you to enjoy your life on your own terms and eliminate the many harmful results of allowing bad stress to govern your life. Enjoy your newly designed, stress free life.

Author's Bio: 

Provided as an educational service by Bill Dueease of The Coach Connection, where our mission is for you to design and create your ideal stress free life. You may contact Bill at 800-887-7214, 239-415-1777, coachconnection by SKYPE, bill@findyourcoach.com, or http://findyourcoach.com