We have all experienced some variation of stress in our lives. Sometimes it can be positive, and sometimes it can be negative. You might be wondering how stress can be positive. There are six major types of stress, each of which can have positive and negative effects on our bodies.
Good physical stress is movement and exercise. The actual stress is the load we place on our muscles and bones during exercise. Getting enough of this good physical stress helps us to maintain a healthy weight and helps to keep us healthy. Bad physical stress comes from over-exercising as it can cause injury. Another form of bad physical stress comes from poor posture. Poor posture will cause problems in muscle function, joint health, and circulation.
Our bodies produce natural chemicals that are good for us and key to maintaining optimal health. For example, vitamins, proteins, fats, and enzymes are necessary for our survival. On the flip side, we are exposed to many unnatural chemicals on a daily basis. We are bombarded with manufactured chemicals that are used in drugs, pesticides, and fertilizers and our bodies have a hard time coping with their influence. Many health problems occur from over-exposure to chemical stress.
Sunlight is an example of positive electromagnetic stress. We feel the positive effects of the sun’s rays and the Vitamin D that it gives our bodies. On the flip side, exposure to common household items like your computer screen, cell phone, microwave, or even you television, can cause problems to your hormonal balance and nervous system.
This is probably the most common form of stress that we identify with. When we have too much on our plate, are being challenged on our beliefs, or are taking abuse from others, we are being stressed mentally and this can take its toll on our overall health. If we use our minds to think positively, set goals and work to achieve them, we are building mental strength. Overcoming adversity is another example of how stress can be positive and help us to fully develop our minds.
Eating right for your metabolic and making sure that you’re eating the appropriate amounts of food are examples of positive nutritional stress. If your body isn’t stressed by the challenge of extracting the needed nutrition from food, it will become lazy. Alternatively, if we’re eating too much or too little, or if we’re pumping ourselves with foods that contain high levels of toxicity (food colouring, pesticides, preservatives) we are creating unhealthy nutritional stress in our bodies.
Thermal stress deals with our body temperature. Maintaining 37°C, or 98.6°F, is important, so when it is hot or cold, our bodies regulate thanks to the thermal stress. Anything that burns you, or causes extended periods of cold are examples negative thermal stress.
When we have too much negative stress of any kind, we release high levels of stress hormones such as Cortisol. Of course, cortisol helps us to function properly, but too much makes it difficult for us to repair and recover. It ages is more rapidly, it causes problems with digestion, and it can suppress our immune systems. It’s important to recognize what is causing stress in our lives and learn ways to deal with it.