Eustress is Positive Stress
Eustress is the technical term for positive stress. Yes, good stress does exist. It's health promoting, feels good in some way, and delivers a positive outcome. And, there are things you can do to encourage more of your stress to fall in the category of 'good stress'.
An easy analogy to help make the concept of positive stress clearer, is to think about physically training your body. When you are lifting weights, or running greater and greater distances, or doing pilates, or dancing through zumba classes...
When you push yourself, your muscles and physical capacity are challenged. Your body is stressed in new and demanding ways.
Yes, that's eustress... you are bringing it on yourself in order to enhance your physical health and well being. The same type of positive stress can be illustrated in your emotional, spiritual, and intellectual life too...
Consider becoming engaged to the love of your life. You are excited, joyful, and... also under considerable stress!
You are looking forward to marriage and at the same time you are challenged by it. You know it's a huge commitment, you want to make it work, and you sensibly acknowledge that it will require you to learn and grow in ways yet unseen.
You can see that marriage is in the top ten stressful life events measured by the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale (a new window will open).
What are some other examples that you consider to be positive stressors in your own life, or that of family or friends?
- Dating a new person
- Getting your drivers license and driving alone for the first time
- Having your child recieve their drivers license and driving alone for the first time!
- Buying a new home
So eustress is your experience of relating to challenging stimuli that has a positive outcome.
Positive Stress Levels
Eustress is usually the outcome of a positive event in your life. Although, it is also possible for an unwelcome and disagreeable incident to create positive stress. The key is that the incident does not take you into the territory of distress, and it creates a positive outcome.
You can likely think of a number of small challenges that, even though not classified as 'good stress that you would invite into your life', can also be viewed as inducing positive stress. They create just enough annoyance to coax you into action. They are basically motivating forces promoting your healthy growth.
Most people would agree that 'minor stressors' that could induce eustress might include things like
- a pebble in your shoe
- your young child breaks dishes by not handling them with care
- being late for a meeting
These minor stressors invite you to take action to address the challenge. In response to them, you may:
- remove the pebble from your shoe
- teach your child the importance of caring for what you have
- review priorities, the respect you place on other peoples time, and make a greater effort to be on time in the future
Encourage More Eustress and Less Distress
It's likely that even in mildly stressful situations you've witnessed someone go 'over the edge' into distress and suffer from stress symptoms. So what's happening there?
It's a perfect example of the fact that the main cause of stress is within the individuals mindset, not inherent in the particular situation (as many think the main causes of stress to be), and nor is what causes stress simply the fact that the situation is a challenge.
There are some important natural stress management techniques that you can practice in your life in order to make stressful situations more likely experiences of eustress rather than distress. Greater tolerance of stress is definitely encouraged through taking care of yourself. 4 great ways to manage stress that you can start with are to ensure you:
- get ample rest
- nourish yourself with nutritional whole foods
- practice how to relieve stress through knowing yourself, your values and priorities
- cultivate a mindset of finding inner peace through understanding
Peace and Personal Development
Gaining a modern day appreciation of what stress is for in our lives is a great step toward cultivating more eustress and less distress. This is the way to join the band of self development paraders that are building the wave of peace by learning to live with peace themselves.
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