Good and Bad Stress ?
In this article we will explore more about mental stress. How we can distinguish between a good stress and a bad stress. Importantly, how we can reduce it or control it?
Mental stress is a simply a force or a pressure on our brain. There are two types of it, good stress and bad stress. Time and situation are the key players to differentiate good stress from the bad one. For example, just like holding a glass of water for few moments would cause no pain in our arm while holding the same glass of water for few hours would make our arm hurt. In the same way, good stress is our mind's natural ability to ght or ight in an ideal stressful situation and at an appropriate period of time while bad stress is the constant pressure on our mind at an inappropriate time and without the presence of an ideal stressful situation.
Good stress is essential for all living beings to sustain their lives. While bad stress is something that takes away the joy, beauty and ecstasy of life while we are alive.
Good stress is the tension created by our mind while we are actively handling any physical or mental task. For example, imagine yourself at the airport, short of time and trying to gure out what would be the fastest way to reach your gate. Or imagine you just hear that your tea is boiling over in the kitchen from your living room. Or imagine an impala running very fast to save his life from a tiger that is few feet behind him. In above cases, all three individuals would go through a very high stress levels but the stress here is actually a good stress because there is a presence of an ideal stressful situation and above individuals would go through stressful situations for an appropriate period of time. Once the situation is under control or over the good stress would elevate by itself and leaves us relaxed and free minded. Even through the outcome is not desirable at all;the good stress wouldelevate by itself and leave us free minded after the situation is over.
Another good example of good stress is a cricket match or a football match. Players are under consistence stress during the match but as match is over both winning and losing sides appeared to be relaxed and mentally out of that intense stressful situation. This is the reason we love to watch sports. We as an audience also feel the effects of good stress on our bodies and minds and then the relaxing effects of light-mindedness after the match is over
Good stress is very important for us. It keeps us motivated, energetic, fights depression and most importantly it keeps us alive.
Bad stress on the other hand is simply a habit of mind to keep holding high stress levels at an inappropriate timeand without any existence of an ideal stressful situation. For example, its 11 o clock at night you are laying in your bed to get some good sleep but your mind is creating scenarios in your head,one after another and then looking for solutions to those scenarios, the process seems to be never ending. Or you had a bad argument at work or at home few days ago but your mind is still holding that tense situation in your thoughts. This chain of thoughts often becomes very long and becomes very heavy. For some, few drinks of alcohol or drugs are the only weapons left to break that long heavy chain of thoughts and to freed up the mind and make the mindfeel little lighter and relaxed.
Bad stress is not adisease infect it's a habit of mind. We have to break this habit by developing a new good habit that would eventually replaces the old self-developed bad one. Here is one good practice that can be very helpful if practiced in the right way with dedication. The rule is that whenever you see anything of white color, immediately check what's going on in your mind. Is my mind is engaged in any thought or thinking? If yes, then at the same moment and same spot, drop all the thoughts from your mind, no matter how urgent or important they are.
Now, you just achieved the thought-free or blissful state of mind. Now, shift your focus from that white object towards your breathing and very importantly remind yourself while inhaling and exhaling, “ Breath is THE most precious thing I have “. Truly, every single breath is the most precious thing we have. The moment it stops your family is no longer yours, your wealth is no longer your and even your body is no longer your. Not a billion dollar can purchase us a single breath.
Initial goal is to hold this free state of mind for few moments. Once your brain is cooled down with the multiple hits of oxygen then go back to what you were doing. Repeat this again; as you see another object of white color, it could be indoors or outdoors, near or at distance. Do it until it becomes a habit. Remember, for beginners the goal is few moments. People who excel deep into this practice can easily achieve pure Samadhi.
Many people agree that their mind keeps wandering all the time and sadly they justify this bad habit of mind by believing that consistently working mind would lower their chances of failing in life thus its okay for mind to stay busy at all the times. Or they would claim that stress is just a part of the western world and we are all going through it. Sadly, above are all the misconceptions regarding bad stress and are not true.
If you feel that you are under bad stress
on and off or consistently then I would
encourage you to start practice right
away. These small thought free gaps
will eventually becomes wider and
eventually replaces the old selfdeveloped
wandering habit of mind.
In the beginning you will notice that
your sleep patterns becomes longer and
intense, which is normal and let it
happen. If practiced with dedication and
as a priority, you will start to feel lightmindedness
from day one and start to
experience the blissfulness of life right away.