Eustress and distress

What is stress?

Probably all of you have been stressed enough to notice the negative effects of stress, at least once in your lifetime. This is distress — the kind of stress that depletes you from your energy and if you are prolongedly exposed to manifests in your body in the form of a disease.

What is eustress then? Not the exact opposite, as many of you may have thought. This kind of stress is the one that develops you. Or better said: “you develop from it”. Stress that comes from expanding your comfort zone to a level that you can bear.

To ease you in distinguishing between the let me give you some examples:

Distress
Having a quarrel
Eustress
Creatively thinking how to evade quarrels

Distress
Doing an important task under the imposed constraints of limited time, ability and/or other resources.
Eustress
Playing a challenging game before the point you get frustrated.

Distress
Trying to understand a concept in your textbook, one of the fifty you need to know for tomorrow’s test. And it is 2 A.M. already.
Eustress
Calmly reading a book explaining a novel concept you have hard time understanding but you are really interested into doing so.

Recap

What is eustress for one can be distress for another. The difference is perceptual. The common point in the above examples is that you feel “stressed out” (experiencing distress) when you are forced to do something beyond your point of comfort and way after the comfort-zone-expanding area of eustress. Eustress brings you out of your comfort zone, too, but you decide how far you can go and still feel OK. The moment you pass that boundary you begin to experience distress.

How you can use this

Knowing the above monitor the way you feel during your everyday activities. The moment you feel a negative emotion you should stop, before it gets destructive(you will notice it only after it passes the boundary of eustress). Leave the place where you felt the stress, let your mind clear and take a rest. You will notice an increase in your productivity and morale levels when you return to work after the break.