Stress often gets a bad rep. It is something many of us talk about and experience a lot in our daily lives. Especially in our modern world. But is all stress bad for us?

While most of our stress used to be about running away from Tigers, gathering enough food for winter months or keeping ourselves safe from bandits, stress can be induced nowadays by something as simple as an email from your boss or the ride to the office. When it comes to stress and when we experience it has changed. Many experts in the field of well-being would probably even go so far as calling it the modern pandemic that never seems to end.

It’s currently May 2022 and the last 2 years and our global situation has put further strain on people, our societies, cultures, economy and the earth. Individual stress levels have increased through fear, the logistics and aftereffects that came with lockdowns and interventions, clashes between groups and people and their personal beliefs, the economy that subsequently took a hit from all of the above and any of those other flavours of unrest our world has experienced in recent years.

Stress, which is induced by a fear of lack or safety, doesn’t just affect each individual and how they feel emotionally, but also affects their ability to think clearly and logically, their behaviour and how they interact with others as well as their health and well-being in general. That explains, for example, why we had a toilet paper shortage at the start of the Covid pandemic in 2020. See what I mean about thinking logically?

But you see, not all stress is bad. Stress is actually a necessary part of our daily lives. How so? Read on my friend.

Good VS Bad: Why stress is an important part of everyday life?

There are two types of stress: good stress and bad stress. So what’s the difference?

Good stress, or also called eustress, might be felt when you ride a roller coaster, compete in a game, or go on a first date. Your pulse quickens and your hormones surge, but there is no threat or fear. Good stress is about excitement, anticipation for pleasure. Good stress helps us move towards a goal, something that takes us out of our comfort zone, which generally ends in some kind of pleasure.

Good stress inspires and motivates you, focuses your energy and enhances performance. It helps us meet our daily challenges. I would even go as far as to say that good stress is vital for a healthy life. Yep, that’s right!

So… what is bad stress? Well, bad stress is the kind of stress that wears you out. It leaves you jittery, somewhat depleted and is harmful to your health. Bad stress can lead to anxiety, confusion, poor concentration, decreased performance, overwhelm and burn out.

Bad stress is purely about survival, moving away from pain.

Bad stress can be short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic). Acute stress doesn’t take a heavy toll on your body if you can find ways to relax quickly and get yourself back to equilibrium. Chronic stress, however, when you repeatedly face stressors or for long periods of time, can take a heavy toll on your body and can cause negative health effects.

Chronic stress causes headaches, insomnia, weight gain, anxiety, pain and high blood pressure amongst other things. Some common chronic stressors include toxic relationships, money problems, work issues, unmanaged health or mental health problems, racial inequities or perceived loss.

The stress cycle explained: What you need to know.

Both good and bad stress result in your body releasing hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, that trigger common signs of stress: butterflies in the stomach, racing heart and sweaty palms. Ultimately, what distinguishes good stress from bad is how you react or feel about the experience.

Let’s get down to basics. Our brain is designed to do two main things. Yes you heard me right. Two things.

Thing 1: Move away from pain. Because moving away from pain is our basic survival mechanism in other words staying safe.

Thing 2: Move towards pleasure. Because pleasure is what brings us joy, relaxation, vitality and vibrancy in our lives. It’s the stuff that makes life worth living.

And stress is heavily involved in thing 1 and thing 2.

Imagine this:

You are walking through the jungle. Out jumps a tiger. As soon as your body and mind detect the danger your body’s sympathetic nervous system kicks in and releases hormones. The sympathetic nervous system drives the “fight or flight” response in stressful situations, increasing your heart rate and the blood flow to the muscles.

This is the reason humans are said to have exhibited super human strength when faced with extraordinary situations.

So, let’s get back to the tiger. You run because there is no way that you are going to fight this tiger, well unless you are Jason Momoa or The Hulk maybe. You run and run and run until the tiger stops chasing you. Phewwww.

You start slowing down until you stop or walk again. The parasympathetic nervous system now kicks in which restores the body to a restful state, or equilibrium, by releasing some more hormones.

And this completes the stress cycle. This a great example of acute or short-term stress.

Acute or short-term stress is a normal part of everyday life and in itself isn’t a problem when it comes to our health and well-being. As long as the stress cycle gets completed and isn’t activated too frequently.

Chronic stress however is. Prolonged stress, so spending large amounts of time in the sympathetic nervous system part of the cycle, or experiencing the exposure to stressors constantly or frequently, has a very depleting effect on our bodies, our minds, our spirit and ultimately our health and well-being

The stress bunny: How to beat the stress?

As much as we would like, it’s virtually impossible to eliminate bad stress from our daily lives completely. And let’s be honest, sometimes it’s the shitty and stressful experiences in life that make us feel alive afterwards. Like that time I got lost in a jungle in Thailand. But that’s a story for another time.


What we can do is increase our resilience to the stresses of daily life. Stress resilience is not about the ability to resist or avoid stress but rather the ability to recognize and acknowledge that a situation has become difficult or painful and being able to choose a response that leads to growth. Or in other words, stress resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, or threats or significant sources of stress.

Many of us are already incredibly resilient. I can’t even count how many times I have heard a client’s story and thought how resilient they are. To still be here, to still be doing life, to still be committed to themselves and others, to getting out of bed in the morning and doing the day over and over again.

And even though I am in awe of this, there are definitely some things we can all do to increase our resilience to stress. And it all starts with our state of well-being.

One key factor I have identified through my professional and personal spaces is this.

If our lives are predominantly filled with joy, positivity, healing our past, spirituality, alignment to what’s important to us, a healthy life balance between activity and rest, there is almost nothing we can deal with powerfully.

Unfortunately, the pressures of modern society and life can make it difficult or tricky to find this alignment to self. Many would probably say, that being able to do what brings you joy every day and all day long is a privilege that a large amount of people on this earth don’t have.

That may be so. But nevertheless, there are things you can do right now to become more stress resilient right now.

Five ways to increase your resilience to stress right now

Becoming more resilient to stress doesn’t have to be a massive process or take a lot of energy. There are some simple things you can implement in your daily life to decrease bad stress.

1. Notice how you are feeling.

Bring some attention to your body when you are starting to feel stressed. Being aware of what makes us feel stressed and how our body and mind feels in that moment when we do is half the battle when it comes to dealing with stress more powerfully.

2. Take time to change the pace.

Remember the stress cycle? If you are finding yourself in a stressful situation, heart palpitations, sweaty palms and butterflies in your stomach, give yourself some time to calm down or change the pace as soon as possible. Go for a walk, leave the space and do some breathing exercises, do some star jumps or put some music on and boogie. It doesn’t matter what you do, just make sure it’s a very different action from what you were doing previously. It indicates your body that it’s now okay for your parasympathetic system to jump in and bring your body back to a restful state.

3. Have a full night’s sleep.

Yes, I know, it seems so simple. But it’s truly a game changer when it comes to stress resilience. Having a good night sleep helps us feel well rested in the morning and increases our stress resilience. Any parents out there that have found themselves shouting at kids more often after a few rough nights of broken sleep? I rest my case.

4. Increase your me-time.

Solitude with a good book, a netflix movie, going for a walk, doing some art/hobbie or spending some time on personal self care is a great way to bring a better play and work balance to our lives. Me-time is a really important way of recharging our body, mind and soul, especially for those social butterflies or introverts out there. So make me-time a priority and not just in stressful times.

5. Joy your everyday life

Joy is one of those ambrosias of everyday life. When we have fun, do those things that bring us joy and contentment, laugh and smile, it infuses us with life-energy. Chi. Prana. It is the essence of life and giving ourselves permission to experience that what brings us joy every day, even if it’s just for a short period of time, it increases our mood and feeling of well-being. And increased well-being equals greater resilience to stress.

Even if you just implement one of those things right now, it will benefit you, your well-being and those people around you. Life is not about being perfect or doing the perfect things. Life is about just giving it a go and seeing what it does for us.

So give yourself permission to find out how to you can live a more joyful life and book a free coaching session HERE!

As always with gratitude and love,




The Thrive Guide

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My name is Sophie and I was born in New Zealand, Aotearoa, and grew up in Germany. A move to the other side of the world and the discovery of the beauty of my soul self later, I firmly cemented my feet in Auckland, Taamaki Makaurau, New Zealand in 2004.

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