Positive versus Negative Stress

By Dr. Caroline Leaf


We have been told stress is always detrimental to our bodies. Not so! There is such a thing as positive stress!

Let me explain. Stress is the bodies reaction influences coming from outside or inside the body. Stress has three stages. Stage One is positive. In this stage we become alert and focused to the task at hand. This is normal. It is a temporary state.

Stage Two and Three, however, are negative. In Stage Two, the Stress Response is prolonged. Hormones like cortisol, which are only supposed to be increased for a short time, persist at high levels in the blood stream causing damage to our brains and bodies. If Stage Two becomes chronic and is maintained for a longer period it becomes Stage Three. At this point the body’s resources are exhausted, leading to disease and even death.

So what is the key to staying in positive and out of negative stress? It is our thought life, it is how we think. Research has shown that how we think about stress can affect whether we live or die.

The emerging fields medical specialities of psychoneuroendocrinology and psychoneuroimmunology are shedding light on the how thinking affects stress, the brain, the immune system and hormones and how these things determine our psychological and physical wellbeing. See my scientific-philosophy link (under ‘Thinking Affects Health’) for more on the science. Because Mind controls Matter, therefore, thinking is the pre-eminent influence on health. In fact 78% to 98% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life.

Watch Episode 4 of my TV Show for more details.