Is stress bad?

I have spent the past few months with the idea that happiness and peace is the ultimate goal. I found presence to be my quickest path to happiness and have made a significant effort to be more present on a day-to-day basis. Being present allows me to be fully in the moment – without distractions, worries, etc. In being present (at least the way I have been), I often choose to anxiety-provoking topics, conversations, etc. I procrastinate some of the decisions/thoughts I know are stressful just to remain in peace. Again, this is in pursuit of this full state of happiness.

But is the goal to avoid stress? Or is some stress in your life actually a positive thing? 

Surely this is a question scientists/psychologists have explored. There are many interesting case studies on this.

Disparaged as dangerous, healthy stress levels actually can push you to peak performance. Too much of it, though, strains your heart, robs you of mental clarity and even increases your risk of chronic disease. A study by the American Institute of Stress reported that 77 percent of U.S. citizens regularly experienced the physical symptoms of stress. Thirty-three percent of those surveyed feel that they are living with extreme stress levels. –

But ignoring the case studies – which describe tendencies, on average – I think it valuable to see how stress impacts you, personally. For myself, stress can be good. It gives me structure. It gives me order. It gives me partial purpose. So much so that I think avoiding stress is the incorrect learned behavior.

What I find to be far more valuable is to combine pursuit of peace and pursuit of war in a balanced way. I want a little stress in my life but that does not mean it will bleed into everything that I do. I want to have to make hard decisions. I want to have to mess up. I want to fail. I want to take on the impossible.

And that will be hard.

Stress is part of hard.

And I will not give up working on hard things to avoid stress.