Stress! What Is It Good For? Absolutely…Everything

We’ve all heard that we need less stress.

But being the fighter and thought leader that I am, I can’t help but be obstinate and challenge the norms of “common” thought processes.

It’s in my blood.

Stress, in some form or another, can be linked as the leading cause of death.  There’s a reason why the heart attack rate is 32% higher on Monday mornings than any other day or time of the week…

…And why the worst night’s sleep is on Sunday nights.

People are stressed out about shit that they have to get done during the week and that stress starts to hit them on Sunday.  Now, I’m talking generally here so you may not fall into this mold.

But if you do, I know you get this shit!

Quick question – have you ever seen the before office and after office pictures of US presidents?  If you look at their faces after 4 or 8 years in office, you can clearly see the effects of stress on their skin, eyes, and hair.

Now, I’ve talked about fight or flight many times before…we’ve all heard it.  But before you think you know where I’m going with this, hold up!

Yes, it’s an instinctual survival aspect of our human brains for the fight or flight concept to come to light in times of stress, but it goes much deeper than that.  After all, the body’s instincts are tough to argue with and they’re meant for our protection and survival, not to do us harm.

The issue therein becomes an actual problem when the fight or flight mode, AKA stress, becomes chronic and long-lasting.  You begin to feel as though you’re no longer in control of your own life, thoughts, and/or actions.  You begin to doubt yourself and fear others.

Even the decisions you make become more eccentric and less beneficial…not only for yourself but for those around you as well.

That fearful, doubtful, and out-of-control inability to make clear decisions weighs heavily on your own health and the perception that others have of you.

In case you haven’t put two and two together, this is bigger and more powerful than just you.  

As I’ve said, coached, and spoke about many times, the quality of your life is only as good as the quality of your relationships.

If the relationship you have with yourself is strained in some way, I can GAURANTEE you, without a shadow of doubt, that every relationship with other people is somehow either adversely impacted or not as strong and beneficial as it could be.  Your thoughts and decisions, which, by the way, are the only two things that you can control in the world, may be subconscious.

You see, the neuropathways within your brain have been laid out due to your life experiences and most of your conscious thoughts and actions are simply following the subconscious pathways that are already in place.  Think of them as roads and your conscious as cars.  The [conscious] cars, or thoughts and actions, are simply driving along on the [subconscious] highways, or your already-established pathways within your brain.

What this means is that your subconscious is always in charge, even if you don’t consciously realize that or not.  Think about habits or daily tasks.  You don’t have to think about how to open a car door or how to throw a football or how to take a piss.  It’s subconsciously an innate part of who you are and the actions you take.  It simply “comes natural” …and that natural aspect comes from the subconscious neuropathways created by repetition, habits, and life experiences.

What does this have to do with stress?


If you’re in a chronic state of anxiety or stress, you’re biochemically and physiologically training your brain that stress is normal…but the natural chemicals released within your brain in times of stress are debilitating your ability to live a fuller and more complete life – a life filled with more meaning, awareness, and fulfillment.

You’re literally fighting your natural want for happiness.

Being the person I am, I am keen on the importance of perspective.  If you want to change your understanding and interpretation of the world, you must alter your perspective.

Instead of viewing stressful situations as an impassible roadblock, alter your perspective to interpret the situation as a challenge that can be conquered with some careful planning and effective management.

With that said, there are some places in life where stress is actually good for you.  This is called eustress.  So let’s explore some ways in which stress is actually beneficial for you.

1.  Briefly raises your immunity

In times of stress, your body is attempting to protect itself from some sort of threat…or what your mind perceives as a threat.  In these scenarios, your brain releases chemicals that help regulate the immune system called interleukins.  That provides you with a brief boost to your immune system.  However, overstimulation of these chemicals can actually weaken your immunity.  In this case, too much is literally too much.

2.  Gives you energy and strength to conquer a challenge or bad situation

If you feel threatened, your natural response is to get out of the situation as soon as possible…even if you’re extremely tired or scared.  This sudden influx of stress hormones will immediately give you energy, increased focus, and strength to power ahead.

3.  Motivates you to achieve success

The best example I know of is having a deadline.  You know what needs to be done and you know the timeframe in which it needs to be done.  This is where eustress comes into play.  In this case, you enter a heightened state of awareness which narrows your focus to only do the activities necessary to complete the goal.  If you’re like me, you feel like you’re driven mainly by either the internal or external pressure to succeed.

4.  Forces you to learn something faster

Ever hear about the story where the pilot of a plane has a heart attack and dies while flying?  It has happened!  Someone within the plane has to quickly figure out the controls and bring the plane down without dying or killing the rest of the passengers.  That’s a lot of stress!  The increased focus and high resilience to stressful situations makes it possible for a person to learn a task quickly.  In some cases, this is life or death.

5.  Provides you with more resiliency

We’re all going to face stress but some people are keener to the effects and have a better understanding of how to manage it – simply put.  For some people, a flat tire is a HUGE pain in the ass and an absolute mood breaker.  For others, they jump out, grab tools, change the tire, and they’re back on the road in 20 minutes.  They may feel inconvenienced and maybe a little dirty, but they get the job done and move on.  This ability to handle uncomfortable, inconvenient, or stressful situations gives people the motivation and mental capacity to conquer nearly any challenge that comes their way.

And while I know that it takes balls (which is why I already know that most won’t do it) to actually step up and take charge of your situations, mindset, and goals, there are some very powerful tools and strategies that can help you overcome that fear, doubt, and limited thought processes that are holding you back in life…

…And your journey begins here:





– Philip Douthett

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