- When you frame it as good for you
The story you tell yourself about the stressful situation and stress itself can both affect how the stress affects you. Instead of stress being damaging, sometimes it can be like exercise for a muscle. It hurts but ultimately you get stronger.
- When you can handle its intensity
If the stress is less than an amount that you would be unable to handle, then it is less likely to be damaging to you. Extremely intense stress, such as when your life is in peril, can cause conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
- When you choose it
If you willingly entered into a stressful situation, or chose it as a way to work towards a goal of yours, it is more likely to have longer term positive effects for you. When you have a sense of control you are more likely to find it tolerable and even worthwhile.
- When its duration is short
Chronic stress is almost always damaging. But if the stressful situation is short in duration, even if it is on the higher end of moderate, most of the time it will prove harmless to you or like building a muscle. Regular low intensity and short duration stresses can be invigorating.