People generally think of stress and anxiety as negative concepts, but while both stress and anxiety can reach unhealthy levels, psychologists have long known that both are unavoidable — and that they often play a helpful, not harmful, role in our daily lives, according to a presentation at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association.
“Many Americans now feel stressed about being stressed and anxious about being anxious. Unfortunately, by the time someone reaches out to a professional for help, stress and anxiety have already built to unhealthy levels,” said Lisa Damour, PhD, a private-practice psychologist who presented at the meeting. Damour also writes a regular column for The New York Times and is author of the book “Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls.”
Stress usually occurs when people operate at the edge of their abilities — when they push themselves or are forced by circumstances to stretch beyond their familiar limits, according to Damour. It’s also important to understand that stress can result from both bad and good events. For instance, being fired is stressful but so is bringing a baby home for the first time.
“It’s important for psychologists to share our knowledge about stress