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What is a Healthy Level of Stress?

Stress is common among most people, and it can range from mild to severe. Although some amount of stress can help motivate us, too much can harm our mental and physical health. It is important for everyone to understand what a healthy level of stress looks like so they can recognize when it becomes unhealthy.

What Is Stress?

Stress is a heightened sense of awareness of a situation, something that everyone experiences in varying levels. It’s the body’s natural way of responding to changes in environment, events, or circumstances. When faced with a challenging situation, it produces hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline which cause us to feel overwhelmed and anxious.

The most important thing to remember about stress is that everyone experiences it differently. Therefore, what one person deems as stressful may not bother someone else at all. That being said, it is important to identify your own personal signs of feeling overwhelmed in order to best manage stress levels. Signs such as difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, or feeling overwhelmed or anxious, are all indicators of an unhealthy level of stress.

It is also important to identify the sources of stress in your life.

Some of the sources of your stress may include:

Unhealthy relationships:

Whether it be family, friends, or co-workers, some people and relationships can be a source of stress. Therefore, it is important to build healthy relationships in order to limit the amount of time spent with people who cause undue stress.

Financial stress:

Financial worries are another common source of stress. Many people may feel overwhelmed by their financial situation, leading to constant worries and negative foresight. Making a budget and looking into ways to improve your finances, such as paying off debt or saving money, can help reduce financial stress.

Workplace stress:

Workplace stress is also very common. Having too much work, difficult deadlines, or a lack of job satisfaction can all add up to an unhealthy amount of stress. Taking regular breaks throughout the day, setting realistic goals for yourself, and seeking out feedback can help manage workplace stress.

Major life changes:

Life changes such as divorce, moving to a new city, or starting a new job can all add stress. While it is normal to feel overwhelmed during these times, it is important to take care of yourself and find ways to cope with the transition.

Children and family stress:

Caring for family members or raising children can cause a great deal of stress. It is important to make sure you are taking care of yourself and finding support systems to help during times of stress.


Procrastination is another common source of stress. Putting off tasks until the last minute can cause feelings of anxiety or panic which leads to unhealthy levels of stress. To avoid procrastination, it is important to break down large tasks into smaller manageable pieces, stay organized, and set reminders for yourself.

Healthy coping mechanisms are essential in order to have a healthy level of stress. Exercise, mindfulness, and deep breathing can all help reduce stress levels as well as allow you to take time for yourself and relax. Other activities such as journaling, listening to music, and socializing with friends all provide an outlet for stress. When you begin to notice signs of an unhealthy level of stress, it is important to address these underlying causes by either addressing them directly or finding healthier ways to cope with them.

What Are The Effects Of Being Too Stressed

When we are stressed for too long, our body can experience physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, chest pain, muscle tension, and digestive problems. Stress can also have an impact on mental health such as difficulty concentrating, feelings of loss of control, depression, and irritability. Over time, these symptoms can worsen if not properly managed, leading to serious illness like heart disease, high blood pressure, and other chronic illnesses.

Recognizing Too Much Stress vs. Good Stress

It’s important to be able to differentiate between good stress and bad stress. Good stress is a normal response that can help us stay focused during challenging situations or motivate us to take action when needed. Bad stress, on the other hand, is an excessive amount of stress that can harm our physical and mental health. It often results from feeling overwhelmed by too many demands, unrealistic expectations, or lack of control over life events.

How to Set Boundaries to Limit Stress

Setting boundaries is necessary in order to manage your own stress levels. This includes saying ‘no’ sometimes, setting time limits for tasks, delegating tasks to others, and taking regular breaks. It’s also important to identify your own needs and establish clear boundaries with those around you so they understand what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

How to Lower Your Stress Levels

There are several ways to lower stress levels in order to prevent it from becoming too overwhelming. Exercise, meditation, yoga, deep breathing techniques, and listening to calming music can help manage stress levels naturally. Additionally, talking about how you feel with a friend or family member can also be beneficial, as this will help you process your emotions without feeling overwhelmed by them.

When Do You Need Professional Help

If your stress levels become too difficult to handle on your own, then it may be time to seek professional help. This could include talking to a therapist, counselor, or doctor who can help you identify the root causes of your stress and develop strategies to cope in a healthy way. Ultimately, if stress becomes too overwhelming and causes physical or mental illness, then seeking professional help is essential.

The key takeaway is that it's important to be aware of how much stress you're experiencing and take action when needed. There are many ways to reduce your stress levels and set boundaries so it doesn’t become a problem. It's important to remember that everyone feels stressed at times, but if left unmanaged, it can have serious consequences for our overall health and well-being. 

If you ever feel like your stress levels are becoming unmanageable, make sure to reach out for help from a professional at Jackson House. Our specialists work with numerous patients with varying backgrounds and stressors, and can provide individualized help to each patient based on their needs. Don’t let your stress consume you any longer, reach out to a Jackson House facility today.

About the author

Jackson House

Jackson House

We built Jackson House because we realized there was a critical gap in our healthcare system and many individuals with mental illnesses and substance abuse problems were struggling because of it. While there are many outpatient treatment options and locked, inpatient facilities there was nothing in the middle. Nothing to help people who needed around the clock care but wanted to receive treatment voluntarily, on their own terms. Jackson House is different. We provide clients with the level of care they need in a welcoming environment. When you walk through our doors, we will meet you wherever you’re at and help you on your journey toward feeling better.

It's time to feel better

We are here to help and we are in-network with most insurance providers. Call us for a free and confidential consultation.

If you’re a provider and need to send us information on a client, please feel free to fax us at 619-303-7044. If you need help immediately, call our 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-766-4274. If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Jackson House is licensed by the State of California Community Care Licensing Division and certified by the Department of Health Care Services. We are also CARF Accredited. If you have any client or quality of care concerns, please reach out to us at (888) 255-9280. If your concerns need further attention, you can contact the Department of Public Health at 619-278-3700 or the Community Care Licensing Division at 1-844-538-8766.