Stress – The Good the Bad and the Ugly

stress and depressionStress…we’ve all felt it before and in short bursts it’s actually good for us. Low levels of stress, once in a while, can help with your mental performance by keeping you alert and motivated. Stress also helps you to stay safe when you encounter a dangerous situation allowing you to react quickly and efficiently. While small amounts of stress can have a positive effect on your health, chronic stress can be hazardous to your health in a number of ways, including the development of depression and insomnia.

Stress is the way in which we deal with pressure that occurs in our lives. There are many sources of stress including: the death of a loved one, marital problems, work-performance issues, holidays, pregnancy, and other life events. Everyone handles stress differently and if proper coping mechanisms are not in place, problems such as depression and insomnia may develop.

What is the tie between stress and depression?


When you’re experiencing stress for long periods of time it can be overwhelming and can ultimately lead to the development of depression. If you can cope with stress properly, you will be able to deal with stressful situations without too many health problems. However, without proper coping mechanisms, you may feel inadequate, your relationships may suffer and your job performance may diminish. All of these problems can lead to depression. Once you’re suffering from depression it can be difficult to get yourself back on track. If you think you’re suffering from depression, speak to your doctor about treatment options. Treatment options for depression range from diet and lifestyle changes, to medicinal options and psychological and behavioural modification.

The tie between stress and insomnia.

Insomnia means that you have difficulty falling or staying asleep. Bouts of insomnia may come and go, they may last for a couple of weeks or they may be chronic. There are many causes of insomnia, including stress. Stress can cause insomnia because it creates hyper-arousal which may make it difficult to fall and/or stay asleep because the balance between sleep and wakefulness is disturbed. In order to deal with your insomnia and get a better night’s sleep it is vital to implement proper sleep behaviours including: relaxing before bedtime, try to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day, and to use your bedroom for sleep and relaxation – leave your work outside of your bedroom. If you implement these changes to your routine and your insomnia doesn’t improve, you may want to speak to your doctor about potential medicinal options for your insomnia.

The connection between stress and performance

Stress not only affects your health, it can affect other aspects of your life including your work performance. Stress can have a negative or positive effect on your work performance, depending on the level. If you have no stress at your job, you won’t be challenged and your performance will decrease. Conversely, if you have gradual stress it will challenge you and increase your work performance. However, at a certain point the stress level will plateau and will not increase worker performance. Finally, when stress exceeds the maximum capacity that a person can handle, it will negatively affect their job performance. There is a breaking point to work-stress and if it reaches that point, performance will be completely destroyed resulting in lost-productivity due to employee absenteeism. In the end, not only will job performance suffer, the employee may quit or end up getting fired which may create even more stress.

Employers should monitor stress levels within the workplace to ensure optimal employee performance. Controlling the workplace environment is vital to ensure the health and well-being of all employees.

Controlling Stress Levels

Learning how to cope with stress will help to improve your overall health by protecting you against such health problems as depression and insomnia. Try participating in exercise, yoga, meditation or any activity that you enjoy. Also, make sure to take some time for yourself, don’t overburden yourself with multiple obligations that will only increase your stress levels and put you at risk of developing health problems. Lowering your stress level will also make sure the performance of all of your body systems are functioning at their highest potential.