The difference between good and bad stress



November 15, 2019 - 4:12 PM

Every once in awhile we at Humanity House set aside the time to list all that we’ve accomplished, with your help, since our beginning. At this time of year it’s important an exercise, if only to slow us down so that we can witness the goodness that abounds. 

On a visit to a naturopath a few years back, he told me to avoid stress. He told me this when were entering the holiday season. 

I started laughing and told him this was the most stressful time of year. I told him about lighting the square, trying to raise funds, the 18-hour work days, the 50 food baskets, and the worry about kids having enough to eat over the school holidays. 

I talked about setting up Santa’s Toy Shop, cleaning thousands of toys, finding volunteers, and the constant asking so much from so many. I explained the worry that this time of year gives me by seeing so many who are missing small, but important, things in their lives. I also expressed my concerns about missing out on important events in my own life during this busy time.

We talked for awhile and then he smiled really big. He told me something so important that I have never forgotten. 

“Everything that you have told me sounds stressful. But remember, there are different kinds of stress, and yours is a good stress. Stress that comes with a good outcome is not the same as the other stress. It only feels the same if you don’t take the time to think about what you are doing; to enjoy each step along the way. 

“Bad stress doesn’t allow you to do that.”


WHEN I REFLECT on our past year, I remember the smiles, the kind words that I hear exchanged, or the unexpected tears of relief that are shed by the biggest, burliest men or the smallest, but feistiest, women. We see shy smiles from people who are giving what they feel is something small but we know that it will mean the world to someone else.

Every day I wonder if we are doing something important, something that matters. I know that there are big things that need to be done, lasting things that change lives in big ways, and we are working on that. 

What we have been able to bring about in the last four years, you have brought about. We are truly nothing without you. And for you, we give thanks. 

Kindness matters.