What’s the difference between good stress and bad stress?

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Stress becomes problematic when it never or rarely subsides, and it can lead to physical symptoms such as tension headaches and chronic pain. Photo: Pexels

(Mira Miller/ Very Well Health) — Stress is an inevitable part of life, but it’s not always negative.

It’s challenging to pinpoint concrete causes of good or bad stress because one person’s trigger for good stress is another person’s trigger for bad stress, according to Russ Morfitt, PhD, a clinical psychologist and co-founder of the mental health platform Learn to Live.

Two people can experience the exact same event—such as a new project with a tight deadline—but one of them might experience it as an opportunity to take on an interesting challenge while the other one might automatically predict that they’ll fail.

Still, there are some stressors that are objectively negative, such as the loss of a loved one or serious financial troubles.

While the degree of the particular stressors can play a role, it is often the frequency or consistency of stressful events—rather than the stressors themselves—that determine whether the stress is good or bad, according to Morra Aarons-Mele, a mental health author who hosts the podcast The Anxious Achiever. (…)

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