Good Stress, Bad Stress and Immunity: Are they related? Admin February 12, 2024

Good Stress, Bad Stress and Immunity: Are they related?

What is Good Stress?

Stress is part of our daily lives, to assume otherwise would be unreasonable. In fact, a little bit of stress is necessary in our lives; Good stress that is! Stress, when occurring at the right time and without excess, stimulates performance, improves abilities, allows us to work better, faster, and act more effectively.

Positive stress, also known as Eustress, is the pressure created naturally by the body when it comes to responding to new stimuli: a new work environment, a task that comes out of the ordinary. These short moments of stress that involve the body and mind to adapt to this environment allow us to exacerbate our skills, to be more alert and to mobilize our strengths.

Our body is used to dealing with this type of situation, it is tense in situations of anxiety, but naturally relaxes after these short periods. In the long run, if the body experiences too long periods of stress, it is possible that it can no longer overcome the anxiety and sink into lasting fatigue. Advanced exhaustion, both physical and mental, can lead to other symptoms that should be alerting to the situation.

What is Bad Stress?

Once stress becomes chronic, it can cause total underperformance, and trigger health problems. It is important to remember the many dangers of negative stress (Distress). Daily, long-term pressure imposed by daily stressors can lead to serious physical and mental intensification, up to and including burnout. This illness is one of the most alarming symptoms of our society and its causes are multiple: overwork, insufficiently defined objectives, difficult relations with the hierarchy.

Emotional reactivity is central to the stress response. It is initially responsible for functional disorders that are related to the performance of the organs, from high blood pressure, muscle pain, to intestinal transit and organic disorders such as certain cardiovascular diseases, immune problems.

Excessive and/or lasting emotional reactivity also decreases performance at all levels: a difficulty of intellectual, with problems of reasoning and memorization, difficulty of access to feelings, less effective action and relationship management.

Bad Stress and Immunity: How are they related?

Stress not only affects our psychological balance, but it also attacks our immune defences and can jeopardize our health. The consequences of bad stress are threefold: efficiency is usually reduced; energy is expended disproportionately to the useful reaction; significant health, somatic and psychological consequences emerge in the medium and long term.

People who are constantly stressed are more likely to get sick because viruses, bacteria and germs face less resistance. This concerns acute infections, but also chronic diseases. Patients with atopic dermatitis, for example, can react to significant stress with a relapse, as well as cold sores also appear more frequently in times of stress.

But it’s not just disease susceptibility that increases: the healing process can also be slowed down due to chronic stress. Wounds, for example, heal more slowly, and vaccines become less effective.

Stress also promotes the development of cancer: cell division often leads to “errors” in our body. This results in mutant cells, the cancer cells. In this case, natural killer cells are called to destroy the mutated cell. In chronic stress, however, the number and activity of NK (natural killer) cells decrease, and cancer cells are therefore more likely to multiply, before being rendered harmless, than in an intact immune system.

How can we manage Stress?

You can improve all aspects of your life by learning how to manage your stress. The following approaches will help you better cope with stress in your life:

  • Create a balance between work and play.
  • Organize your life so that you don’t feel guilty when you’re resting and don’t have fun when you should be working.
  • Learn to delegate; You don’t have to do everything yourself.
  •  Use relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation.
  • Get plenty of exercise. If necessary, combine it with physical tasks that need to be done (gardening, cleaning, etc.).
  • Learn how to manage your time.
  • Make priority lists.
  • Eat healthy. Alcohol, caffeine, and fat make stress management more difficult while other foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains promote it.
  • Get some rest and get the sleep your body needs.
  • Discuss your problems openly with friends, family, or a counsellor.
  • Take a vacation from time to time.
  • Know that it is not necessary to “win” all disputes. Be less competitive.
  • Don’t try to be perfect and don’t expect others to be.

To navigate the complexities of stress, adopting a holistic approach towards stress management is essential. This involves creating a balance between work and leisure, adopting healthy lifestyle habits, utilizing relaxation techniques, and seeking support when needed. By learning to manage stress effectively, individuals can enhance their well-being, improve their quality of life, and protect their health against the adverse effects of chronic stress.

If you’re navigating the challenges of stress and seeking support in managing its impacts, the American Wellness Center in Dubai Healthcare City offers a comprehensive range of services tailored to your needs. Our Psychology Department is staffed by experienced experts who specialize in stress management techniques, offering personalized strategies designed to enhance your resilience, well-being, and overall health. Whether you’re looking to better manage day-to-day stressors or seeking support for more complex stress-related issues, our team is here to help. Contact Us Today to learn how we can assist you in leading a healthier, more balanced life.