Stress is Good for You.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jul 6, 2012
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How to make stress your friend: change your mind about stress.

The below was inspired by the above. I come from a Buddhist pov, where stress or suffering is not regarded as bad news, but as workable. Read Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind? Remember the fly?

Obstacles are opportunities. Pushing away obstacles only creates further “samsara.” ~ ed.


“Life is 10% what happens and 90% how we react to what happens.”

Stressed out? (It’s) Good for you…If.

Everytime I fail in my business career (you know, every day), I regard it as an opportunity to improve, learn, and wake up to something that I was previously ignoring. In other words, I welcome failure. It points out my blind spots. The key, however, is not to make the same mistake again and again.

Sound familiar?

For those of us on a spiritual path—which is just a fancy, formal way of saying for those of us who are alive and trying to be good people and enjoy life—stress and failure can and should and must be regarded as a good thing. Not something to push away.


There’s a prevalent idea in our pseudo-spiritual-lite hippie yuppie yoga-doing society that “Stress is Bad for You.”

But stress isn’t bad news. Stress is a part of life—it helps us, you know, grow up.

Just as stress is good for muscles, it can be good for our “souls”—we can learn and grow and mature through stress.

Fearing stress, not knowing how to deal with stress (breathing deep, facing the music), is bad news.

The key is to know how to deal with stress. If stress overwhelms us, that’s what will take years off of our life, make us look and feel old and joyless before our time.

I should know.

~ Waylon


Stress can be good for us. As in exercise, stress can strengthen us and even be fun. It is, rather, our fear of stress that causes stress. Relax and grin, chin up!

Bonus Video:

Waylon and James Gimian on Using Mindfulness to Manage Stress  




About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


18 Responses to “Stress is Good for You.”

  1. Stress is good for you if you address it, deal with it and grow—exactly. Undealt with stress, well….it's good in that it brings lots of people to my massage table, but bad for body & mind otherwise.

  2. tridentgirl says:

    (trident girl said to trident boy) "Dear little pine cone, please don't view yourself so rough 'round the edges or joyless as you live your spirited life at the foot of the wilderness floor- for I see you as the most magnificent pine tree in the making."

  3. @gmcheeseman says:

    Thanks for the post! I always say that life is only 10 percent circumstances, and 90 percent attitude. Our attitudes toward stress will determine how we deal with it. If stress is seen as the enemy, then we won't learn how to practice good self care while under tremendous stress. I will never forget a professor telling me that I was "burning the candle at five ends." I didn't understand that he was trying to tell me to slow down a bit, and take care of myself. I get it now, and make time to take care of myself.

  4. elephantjournal says:

    Amen, you.

    I'm working on it, myself! I just know that when I "wish" I could get away from my stress or difficult relationship, it creates further stress. When I address it, meditate, take a bath, go for a hike, talk with a friend…etc…it, as Allen Ginsberg once said, eases the pain of living, offers us some wisdom/experience from which we can experience empathy and compassion for others in a similar boat.

  5. elephantjournal says:

    You're the one with the great post, Mr. Most Popular all Week!

  6. elephantjournal says:

    I think you need to help me write Eco Boy.

  7. Absolutely! It's the whole reason I do stress management with folks, massage therapy and my writing on those types of things. Stressful events are a given. When we manage it (enough rest, time w/ friends, massage, exercise, nature…oh and baths…totally!) it makes us more able to help those in the same boat.

  8. tridentgirl says:

    Ask, and ye shall receive…

  9. jill says:

    Yay for growth! Stress in my experience does lead to growth–it takes courage to just dive in the water and swim!

  10. inga troutman says:

    whoever told the western mind that life is 'supposed to be all nice, safe, fluffy, easy? maybe just stop paying so much attention to ourselves, open up and look out /look around ? too personally obsessed, u know.

  11. yogasamurai says:

    Stress is part of making a difference, which invariably means dealing with other hominids — whom, under our current laws, unless you live in Florida, you cannot terminate at will with extreme prejudice.

  12. Someone I know just reframed mid-life crisis (a major stress point) as mid-life opportunity. It's all in the half full or empty way we look at anything in our lives.

  13. tridentgirl says:

    Oh t.b., I’m afraid that If it were up to me, I would ruin all of e.b. and y.g’s fun. They would have an incredibly sweet shotgun wedding at the Lyon’s Farmette with 150 of their “closest” friends in attendance. They would eat heirloom dishes from the farmette with chickens perched on the backs of worn, antique wooden chairs, at large wooden farm tables. Their guests would delight in the vegan lavender cupcakes with little sprigs of mint atop and early grey martinis. E.B. and Y.G., wouldn’t be able to agree on the music and so they would cue up their own music to big band swing and classics like Mambo Italiano. Some of their musician friends would surprise them with an impromptu bluegrass performance. Their first daughter would be named Willa, after Willa Cather of course and their second daughter, Sarsaparilla. Y.G would lose her faith in the yoga community and find that riding horses and day dreaming about Robert Redford when he was young, were just about as spiritual and therapeutic as anything else that claimed to enlighten someone. And anyways, she always dreamt of being a rodeo star from the 1940s and she might as well get started. Along with the 3 books he wrote, (a book of short stories, one fiction book and one auto-biography) E.B. would have found some deeply satisfying level of personal and financial success with the non-profit he started and pours his heart into. In the community they would be “that” family…the one that everyone says they know even if it’s their friend of a friend that kind of knows them. They would climb and swing in their two-person hammock and make love a lot still. She would insist on having their most important life decision-making conversations after sex while still wrapped in his arms amidst his love and all of the bed covers. They would be good, in fact, they would be more than good….they would be great.

    Now see t.b., that can’t be what you had in mind.

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