Understanding the two-types of stress and how it affects us

When you hear the word stress, what thoughts often come to your mind? For most, I would have to guess a mixture of negative thoughts associated with the word; stress with work, stress about finances, stress about life in general. However, stress is not bad at all.  In a lot of cases, stress can actually be good.  As long as you can change your outlook on how stress affects your life and you can be mindful of why you are experiencing it, stress can be a powerful motivator in your life.  


What is stress?

Stress is your body's response to certain situations. Stress is subjective. Something that may be stressful for one person -- speaking in public, for instance -- may not be stressful for someone else. Not all stresses are "bad" either. For example, getting a new job promotion to a management position may be considered a "good" stress.

I’m sure most of you already know, especially if you are an avid floater, that stress can have a huge affect on your mental, physical, and emotional health.  It can speed up your heart rate, make your body sweat, and make your brain think at a mile a minute.  But what many of us don’t know is that there are actually two types of stress: positive and negative or often referred to as, Eustress and Distress.


How the two different types of stress affect you

The first type of stress is Eustress, or what we like to refer to as positive stress.  Eustress is often felt when we are faced with challenges that may be difficult but we know we are capable of overcoming. Challenges and responsibilities like this give us a sense of thrill and excitement.

One example of eustress is having a big competition arise at work. Though you know this competition is going to require more effort and hours at work, it brings a feeling of enthusiasm to succeed or win in a challenge.  

Eustress is a healthy kind of stress because it encourages and motivates us in our life and at work and also gives us a feeling of fulfillment.

The second type of stress is the negative kind of stress, or Distress.  Distress is referred to as the “most popular” kind of stress.  It’s caused by negative factors such as unhappiness, anxiety, depression, fatigue, etc.

It’s hard to provide an example of distress because every person reacts differently in particular situations but generally these are some examples of situations that case distress: divorce, death, injury, loss of job, other conflict.

When we are faced with negative stress, if often blocks our happiness and success and if it continues for a long period of time we can become emotionally, physically, and mentally sick.

People who experience a lot of distress are the ones who always complain about life. They tend to play the victim role instead of being a victor.  This stems from a feeling of being unfulfilled and has a huge affect on your potential success level if it carries on over time.  


What’s the point of all of this?

Now that we’re aware of the two types of stress and how they affect us, it’s important to look for solutions to change. t’s always important to remember that the goal is not to get rid of stress completely – but to instead identify our stressors and find ways to overcome the negative stress that those things induce.

Posted on April 8, 2015 and filed under Health & Wellness.