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Managing Positive and Negative Stress

Dec 30, 2017

When we hear about stress, usually we hear about about how negative it effects our lives and our bodies. However, believe it or not, not all stress is affects us negatively. There are two different kinds of stress. Eustress is positive stress. Distress is negative stress. Eustress has a positive affect on our health, relationships and life, while distress does the opposite. So how do you know which kind of stress exists in your life? How can you properly manage both?

 

Eustress

Eustress is a positive form of stress. A couple great examples, found on https://www.habitsforwellbeing.com/eustress-vs-distress/, of eustress include: receiving a promotion, having a baby, holidays, retiring, etc. When we experience eustress it is energizing, short term and within out perceived limits. It's when we do those things that are a tad bit out of our comfort zones. It promotes self growth, and good health. It is not normally what we would think of when we feel "stressed out." 

 

Distress

Distress is a negative form of stress. A couple examples of distress includes: death of a loved one, getting fired, major illness of injury to self or loved one, abuse, financial issues, etc (https://www.habitsforwellbeing.com/eustress-vs-distress/). Distress leaves us feeling unhealthy, overwhelmed, decreased energy levels, and decreased performance. Distress is what we feel when things are a little too far out of our comfort zones. Distress becomes present when things seem out of our control. This is the kind of stress that we think of when we feel "stressed out."

 

Managing Stress

Eustress can turn into distress if not managed correctly, as well as distress can be turned into eustress if managed correctly. If you experience eustress in your life, keep doing your best and moving out of your comfort zones. If distress begins to overwhelm your life and to just keep up with staying proactive with eustress follow these suggestions:

 

  1. Start a gratitude journal. Studies have shown that writing a few things that you are grateful for each day has a positive impact on mental health. Writing down what you are grateful for can help you focus on the good things in life, rather than focusing on the stressful things. It might not take away the stressful factors in your life, but it might be able to shift your perspective of them.
  2. Find time for relaxation. There are many different ways to relax. Maybe try a hot bath, meditation, read a book, yoga, perhaps a peaceful walk in the woods. Do something that you enjoy and helps get your mind off of the stress in your life.
  3. Eat a healthy diet. Eating unhealthy can begin to cause stress and illness in the body. 
  4. Exercise daily. Exercise can help to reduce stress. It releases the good feel hormones in the brain, and also helps improve sleep. 
  5. Get enough sleep. It is recommended that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Getting enough sleep helps you focus and function better, and reduces stress levels.
  6. Receive massage regularly. Massage reduces levels of stress by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the side of the nervous system that promotes relaxation and rest. By activating this nervous system, the mind and the body can let go of stress more effectively. 

 

During our lifetime, we will inevitably experience both types of stress. Some periods of life are periods of eustress, while others are times of distress.  Charles R. Swindoll quoted "Life is 10% of what happens and 90% of how you react to it." Whatever kind of stress you are going through, it is your choice on how you will react to it. 

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