Dr. Pressman | The difference between good stress and bad stress

Key Takeaways:

  • Some stress is natural and okay
  • Chronic stress limits our ability to connect
  • If you are need of support in managing stress please reach out, we are here to help


We have different responses to stress depending on the type of stress and the way we handle stress. That's something that you learn about yourself over time. And there's good stress, like bringing home a baby. It may be terrifying, it may ignite some wild feelings, but it is overall good stress. And when stress becomes problematic is when it's chronic and it's so intense that you lose the use of the part of your brain that helps you make good decisions and think clearly, your prefrontal cortex.

So when you are seeing red, you can't make any decisions. And sometimes it makes you just either freeze, or get really upset, or fight, or just want to get out of it. What we want our parents to feel the natural rush of positive stress with the ability to get themselves calm and back to zero so that they can then move along and be a parent making good choices and making good connections. And if you're in a stress brain, you can't connect with anybody or anything, so it's an important practice before you become a parent, while you're a parent, to keep trying to teach your brain to come back when it's having a stress response.

Human beings have a stress response for a reason. It saves you. So if you're being chased by a bear, you know that you need to have your, you need a stress response. But if our life isn't being threatened, we just have a crying baby, we need to be able to say, let me stop and observe what's happening in my body and in my thinking because I know that this feels really intense, but that everybody is safe. So if you can just tell yourself, embrace the stress response, embrace the fact that you have a new baby and things are going to happen that seem really scary, and your body might go into, “ahhhhh this is really dangerous!” but it's not dangerous.

In this article