The Good Stress: What Is Eustress?
We all know what stress is and how negatively it can impact our daily life. However, while most people are convinced that all stress is bad, the truth is that there are different types of stress.
Chronic stress is harmful, while eustress is a type of positive stress that can enhance the quality of our life, make us happier, and improve our well-being.
Let’s figure out what good stress is and how you can bring it into your life.
What Is Eustress?
All people experience stress in their life. No matter what we do, we all go through difficult times, emotionally draining experiences, and nerve-racking situations. However, there is also a type of stress, known as eustress, which is beneficial for us.
This type of stress is what makes us feel excited or “full of adrenaline.” For example, we experience this type of stress when we deal with a challenge, go on a roller-coaster ride, or watch horror movies.
Eustress is important in our lives. Without it, we would feel bored or even depressed. We would fail to find the motivation to accomplish our objectives, and many people would feel like their lives lack meaning. Eustress is what gives us the feeling that we have a reason to wake up in the morning, it helps us overcome challenges and push our limits. This is why eustress is actually good stress – it makes us keep going.
Knowing what eustress is can also help us identify it so we can manage other types of stress, as well. For instance, bad stress is what we feel when we face a threat. Good stress is associated with challenges.
Stress caused by threats is dangerous. Such stress can cause anxiety and turn into chronic stress. For instance, if you’re about to lose your job, this situation generates bad stress.
However, challenges are exciting and we feel good about ourselves when we overcome them. For instance, you can turn the bad stress of potentially losing a job into good stress by challenging yourself to find a new, better job, taking on a new project, or starting an income-earning activity or hobby.
Eustress vs. Distress
Eustress is good stress, while distress is at the opposite end of the spectrum, being a bad type of stress. While distress decreases your performance, eustress motivates you and boosts your energy. Eustress is usually short-term, while distress can be both acute and chronic.
Some other differences between the two types of stress include:
- Distress is outside of our control, while managing eustress is within our abilities (i.e., achieving something or overcoming a challenge);
- Distress is unpleasant, while eustress feels exciting;
- Distress and chronic stress lead to mental and physical health issues, while eustress improves the quality of our life, gives us a reason to wake up in the morning, and makes us feel more motivated.
If you struggle with stress that impacts the quality of your life, it is important to seek help. Therapy can help you identify factors that cause stress in your life and manage it successfully.
H2: Eustress Effects on the Body
Eustress can be quite easy to identify. For instance, you may feel the adrenaline in your veins, your heart rate may increase, and you may be extremely focused. Emotionally, eustress and challenges lead to motivation, inspiration, and the feeling of pride and contentment when we have just achieved something important or difficult.
Stress can negatively affect your body, but eustress helps you become more resilient – overcoming challenges teaches you how to manage difficult situations in the future, making you stronger. It also shows our autonomy, as we feel independent when we’re in control of our lives.
Eustress can also have positive physical effects. For instance, if we challenge ourselves to go through a tough workout a few times per week, this can lead to a better physical look and lifestyle, improved self-image, and overall confidence in our ability to chase our dreams.
Examples of Eustress
To understand how to use eustress to improve the quality of our life, it’s important to understand how it comes naturally. There are endless opportunities that generate good stress. For instance, getting married or parenting are positive stressors – these are unforgettable moments in our lives, and we work hard for them; we are stressed, but the happiness we feel makes it all worth it.
Our jobs take most of our time. Our careers are also one of the main stressors we know – whether we want to advance, deal with difficult supervisors or colleagues, or experience job insecurity.
However, we can use our jobs to generate good stress in our lives and experience its positive effects. For instance, you can try a new hobby or project that generates money. This will make you feel satisfied when you succeed, which is why it’s important to set objectives that are realistic but challenging. Working with toxic people, loading yourself with many projects, and trying to make it with tight deadlines can easily turn into negative stress.
We also experience eustress when we start a new job, receive a promotion at work, move into a new home, go on vacation, or learn a new hobby.
If you want to use eustress in your life, you need to understand the difference between good and bad stress. In short, bad stress is generated by threatening situations, while good stress comes with challenges. Eustress is what keeps us motivated, excited, and makes us feel the adrenaline pumping in our veins.
Undoubtedly, bad stress cannot be entirely eliminated in our life. However, we can actively seek activities to generate eustress – such as going for a tough training session, going on an exciting vacation, learning a new language, or starting a new, interesting project. These activities may stress you temporarily but it is good stress – once you achieve your objectives, you will feel more motivated, autonomous, and resilient to bad situations.
If you suffer from chronic stress, you can benefit from therapy. Although a busy work schedule may not allow you to visit a therapist in person, online therapy platforms like Calmerry enable you to approach therapy in a more flexible way and get the necessary help from virtually anywhere. Learn more about therapy if you’ve never visited a therapist before.
It’s possible to turn bad stress into eustress. Of course, losing your job is not a good experience by any means so you may feel distressed for some time. However, everything depends on your mindset – a job loss can be turned into finding a better job or starting a new career path – the opportunities are endless.
So, the question is, what’s your next adventure?