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Not All Stress Is Bad

5 min

Not All Stress Is Bad

How can we transform stress from a formidable foe into a powerful ally?

In a world increasingly punctuated by daily stressors, understanding and managing stress is crucial for our mental and physical well-being. The way we perceive stress—as either a threat or an opportunity to overcome—plays a foundational role in our ability to navigate life’s complexities.

Stress, inherently complex, transcends the simplistic binary of good or bad. Its impact on us is profoundly shaped by our perception and how we manage it. Acknowledging this complexity allows us to differentiate between two types of stress: eustress and distress. This distinction is crucial, with eustress being stress that is harnessed for growth and achievement, and distress being stress that is harmful and especially difficult to recover from.


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Recognising the dual nature of stress is the first step towards resilience, transforming potential threats into opportunities for growth. For instance, the excitement of public speaking can be a source of good pushing some towards personal development (i.e. eustress), while for others, it might overwhelm them with fear (i.e. distress). Similarly, facing a tight work deadline can be perceived as either a threat (e.g. fear of missing the deadline, underperforming etc.) or an opportunity (e.g. impress at work, get a sense of achievement etc.), depending on one's perception and ability to cope with it.

The crux of effective stress management lies in shifting our perception: viewing stressors not as insurmountable obstacles but as conquerable challenges. This shift is not merely beneficial for immediate outcomes but is essential for our long-term health.

At the heart of redefining our relationship with stress is the Check-In feature of NOWATCH, a crucial tool that elevates personal insight into stress management. This feature prompts users to periodically assess how they feel, helping distinguish between good (eustress) and bad (distress) stress. It serves as a vital feedback loop, enabling users to reflect on their stress reactions and adapt accordingly. Through regular check-ins, individuals gain a deeper understanding of their emotional and physical states, fostering a balanced approach to stress that acknowledges its dual nature.


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Complementing the Check-In is the Stress Gauge, which provides real-time data on stress levels by analysing physiological markers such as heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), and skin conductance. This objective data, combined with the subjective insights from the Check-In feature, offers a comprehensive overview of an individual's stress landscape, enhancing the ability to manage and harness stress for growth.

Understanding and leveraging the features offered by NOWATCH, particularly the Check-In and Stress Gauge, empower us to not only manage stress but to also see it as a potential force for good. By fostering awareness, encouraging reflection, and providing tools for effective management, we can transform stress from a formidable foe into a powerful ally in our quest for growth and resilience

Researched by Rebecca O'leary and edited by Olivia Ellice Flint.


Rebecca O.

Research Trainee

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