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Why stress management is not about avoiding stress.

Updated: 4 days ago

Decorative image of several yellow lightbulbs against blue background with one bright white lightbulb among them.

Stress is a natural part of being human.

We’re meant to feel stress. It isn’t something to avoid the way the media will have us believe. (Remember: the media will share whatever will sell papers or clicks. They rarely tell the whole story.) This previous blog post explains a bit more about stress and how it’s not necessarily to be dreaded the way we’ve been led to believe.


We all need stress.


Stress can feel good.

It can be motivating. It can be exhilarating. It can make us feel like we’re on top of the world.


However, stress can also feel bad.

It can be anxiety-inducing. It can be fear-creating. It can feel awful.


As I mentioned in my last newsletter, stress is a physiological response: it is the release of stress hormones – cortisol and adrenaline – by our cells. Hormones are hormones. There’s no such thing as “good stress hormones” or “bad stress hormones”. They are all the same.


So, the fact that our experience of stress can sometimes feel good and, at other times, feel bad has nothing to do with the physiology of stress.


We each have an optimal level of stress.

If we have too little stress, we won’t get out of bed. If we have too much stress, we will be overwhelmed. What is a comfortable amount of stress for me may not be enough stress for you or may be too much stress for someone else.

Bell curve graph with "Too little stress" on left side, "Optimal amount of stress" at top of curve, and "Too much stress" on right side.

Feeling more stress than what is comfortable for us – in other words, exceeding that optimal level – is when stress starts to feel bad.


Our experience of stress has everything to do with how we interact with stress. By “interact”, I mean how we think about stress and what we do about stress.


This is where our thoughts and actions around stress really matter.


In fact, our thoughts and actions about stress matter MORE than the stress itself. I talk about this in a prior blog post.


So, stress management is not about avoiding stress but it is not about tolerating uncomfortable levels of stress, either.


Stress management IS about taking steps – through actions or a shift in your mindset – to get back within your stress “comfort zone”.


The best thing you can do for yourself in this situation is to acknowledge that stress is a natural part of being human and that you are not a victim of stress. Viewing stress in this way opens the door for you to feel empowered to navigate stress and take some form of action to help you get back to feeling okay.


I shared several ideas for getting back to feeling okay in previous newsletters and blog posts, including:


Let me know what you think!

With gratitude,



LORA Concepts Inc.

compassionate confidence

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p.s. The information, insight, and advice I share through my work is meant to exist alongside whatever else you may be doing to bolster your mental health, manage stress, or improve your well-being. Nothing I share is meant to replace directives or treatment plans provided by your doctor, therapist, or other healthcare professional.



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