Now before you start going haywire and think I actually mean all stress is good stress, just listen and read.
In the context I am speaking, yes stress is good for you and I believe stress is vital for the average and everyday person to succeed and thrive but also more important for an athlete to be successful.
In this example I am about to show you, you would probably say stress is good and while there is good and bad stress most of the time stress is good for us and it is what helps us grow, get stronger, more confident and preserve.
Joseph is a first year college hockey player who is a bottom six forward on his team. Leading up to college Joseph played top three forward minutes for his junior team and was one of the best players on the team. But he understands stepping into the college ranks, his role will change. Early on in the season, one of the top three forward goes down with an injury and is out for three-weeks. The coach calls upon Joseph to step into the role and fill the void. Joseph ends up doing a great job, exceeding coaches expectations and helping the team win some games down the stretch. You are probably asking, ok, what is the point? Well say Joseph never had dealt with a situation of being a top three forward and or the guy the team called upon to play big minutes and be the "guy" then, you'd probably assume Joseph would not have done well when coach called him to fill in for the void of the injured player. But since Joseph was exposed to that stress of having to perform, be the top gun, play top minutes and help the team win games. When the coach called upon Joseph it was a seamless transition for him, he was comfortable under this stress and his body did not to take 2-3 weeks to adjust to the stress and get comfortable being a top-3 forward. Make sense now? No. Ok, I'll continue to explain.
You are fairly new to working out. You have been to the gym a few times, maybe 1-2x a week on and off for about six months. But you have never stayed consistent and gone three times a week for six months or more. Therefore you grab a partner and say, "hey I got this new workout program, it's three days a week for six months, let's set a goal and do it!". The partner, similar to you, says OK! You begin Monday and do the first week. After the first week you are terribly sore and almost feel as if you cannot move some days. Therefore you go to your fitness freak friend and say "hey, I am so sore I do not know if I can make this next week of workouts. What should I do?" Your fitness freak explains to you "that you are a beginner being sore is going to happen, your body will eventually adapt to working out and not be sore after some time, for now, just stretch, eat and hydrate well!" You say "OK!" Get back to it for week two and while it may be uncomfortable and harder you push through it and finish week two. Still a little sore, you do not freak out and continue on for week three. After week three you have no more soreness or very little for it to be noticeable or an issue. You ask your fitness freak friend why that is and they explain "ah! Your body is adapting to the stress of working out. When you workout you put stress on your muscles because the only way you get stronger and build muscle is the continuous break down of muscle tissue and recovery of muscle tissue. So you put a lot of stress on your body the first week but over the next two weeks your body got used to that stress and eventually adapted to it and learned to overcome the stress you were putting on your body!" You say, "makes sense, if I had known that I would have never been so inconsistent when I first started!"
This goes for all aspects of life honestly not just working out. If you have never been to a job interview before in your life, you can probably assume that your first job interview may not be the greatest and or go well. Yet when you do twenty more job interviews after that eventually you get more comfortable and interview better. The body adapts to the stress of interviewing and you learn to overcome that anxious, nervous feeling after a few more tries of interviewing. This goes for almost everything in life. Lost your girlfriend and do not know what to do? Well if this is the first time you have to deal with a break up than it may be difficult to get over and move on but if this is your third or fourth break up perhaps the lose of one may not be so hard this time, while it will be difficult it wont feel as if the world is ending.
Does this make more sense now? Expose your body to stress and eventually the body will adapt to said stress. After awhile you will need more stress to get your body to be sore, not handle difficulty well, etc, but even then your body will adapt. Our bodies are way smarter and stronger than we think. Without stress we will never grow, spiritually, mindfully, physically, etc, our body takes stress and adapts to it overtime while for some it may take longer and some it may be easier, eventually your body will adapt to the stress in your life and feel as if it is nothing you cannot handle. Stress is good, do not overreact, learn to love stress, grow under stress and overcome stress.