Skip to content

Stress and growth

This article makes no claims to be true; it is based on observations from my own life and information collected from numerous psychology books.

Alex Dovhyi
Alex Dovhyi
3 min read
Stress and growth


What is it about some people that makes them more intelligent than others, despite their education and experience?

Everyone appears to have equal possibilities, everyone has access to books and resources on the Internet, and everyone is born with the same potential. But what is the source of the differences? In my opinion, it's stress.

Some people are born into better circumstances and live in less stressful environments. This permits them to grow and learn. Others are born and live in situations that are barely adequate to sustain their survival.

The cause is stress

Personal experience has shown me that being constantly stressed out stop people from progressing in their careers.

I was often under constant stress as a teenager, but when difficult conditions subsided, or I learned to cope with them, I made significant movements in my personal development.

Every time a man faces a stressful event in his life, it requires adaptation, change, or effort.

Yes, stress is required for growth (learning is a form of stress), but only in moderation and rest breaks.

In truth, stress is the tension of the mind and body that consumes energy. If a person is constantly stressed, this state progresses to chronic tension and anxiety related to diseases and nervous system disorders (which turns into stress associated with severe negative emotions and harmful to health).

As you may know, the brain consumes the most energy (some sources claim that the brain consumes up to 25% of all energy, while some claim 40%). If a person has little energy, it is only enough to sustain necessary fundamental activities (sleeping, eating, working, reproducing, watching TV).

Stress generates constant changes in the world. A person is frequently unprepared for it (or not recovered from prior stress), both psychologically and physically, and his nervous system is unstable.

The more frequently a person is stressed, the less energy he has and the less he can evaluate the situation and produce an appropriate response. In effect, such a person transforms into a hunted animal, reacting with fundamental survival instincts.

Essential needs

A person has three fundamental needs: control, security, and approval. If at least one of them is not satisfied, there is stress; there is severe tension if all three are unsatisfied.

As a result, a person is continuously trying to satisfy these demands in one way or another. If these demands are not met in the family, at work, or in friendships, the result is the same — tension, neuroses, and depression.

What it means in terms of development

If a person is born into a horrible family with frequent conflicts and disputes between parents, how can one relax and calmly absorb his lessons or dream about his future?

How can a student usually learn in a school where problematic individuals are only interested in shaming each other?

Or, if a person is forced to feed his family and barely scrape by, how can he relax and consider how he could study and advance to a higher-paying position? He is constantly under stress, which causes emotional fatigue and neuroses.

And what if people are continually bombarded with terrible news on TV and are terrified of external enemies attempting to take over their country?

Or are scared that someone told them they are sinners who will not enter God's kingdom until they regret and give donations.

People will be constantly nervous and fearful, and they will only have the energy to meet their basic requirements. They will be only looking for advice on living because they will not think with their own heads.

The environment and relationships, however, are the most significant things.

Stressful conditions assist in the survival of a pleasant environment and healthy relationships and most critically determine whether a person will open and grow or close and quit evolving.

Good communication is possibly the most important thing. It is critical to maintain friendships with mentally healthy, open people while avoiding narrow-minded idiots.

Alex Dovhyi Twitter

Product designer exploring design’s interplay with product, business, and technology, and answering your questions about freelancing, career, and personal growth.