What images are conjured up for you when you think about the word stress?
Many people recognize the existence of physical stress but when you say the word STRESS, mental stress is what typically first comes to mind.
Those are just two-dimensions of stress. Did you know that there is a third called biochemical stress as well?
In addition to there being three-dimensions of stress, stress can be further divided into positive or negative stress. Let’s break down stress further and look at a few examples of positive and negative stress in all three categories.
Positive Physical Stress: Strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and stretching are all good examples of positive physical stress, provided they are all done with good form and not to excess.
Negative Physical Stress: This would include poor posture in all positions whether you are sitting, standing or lying down. Falls, accidents or lifting – especially repetitive lifting, and overwork are all also examples of negative stress.
Positive Mental or Emotional Stress: A relaxing hobby, such as photography, stamp collecting, and chess are all positive. Some include golf as a relaxing hobby, but for others, it is anything but relaxing. Meditating or praying is positive mental stress, as is solving a puzzle and reading a good book. A positive personal affirmation can also be a great way to reduce emotional stress levels.
Negative Mental or Emotional Stress: Top of the list here is negative daily self-talk. How do you talk to yourself? Chances are it is not very positive. Arguing, impossible deadlines, and an over-extended budget all contribute to negative stress.
Positive Bio-Chemical Stress: Meal planning that includes lots of fruits and vegetables and a limited amount of red meat, nutritional supplementation, and drinking lots and lots of water.
Negative Bio-Chemical Stress: This would be a high carbohydrate diet, especially sugar and gluten. Highly processed foods are another good example, as is caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.
Keep in mind it’s nearly impossible to completely eliminate negative stress from your life. However, now that you know more about stress, I recommend that the more you can do to increase your positive stress and decrease your negative stress, the healthier you will be. Think of it as improving your quality of life down the road, which is perhaps most important of all.
For Better Health, Naturally,
Peter A. Holst, DC