Eustress: The Positive Side of Stress You Need to Know About

CoachHub · 19 April 2023 · 7 min read

When you hear the word “stress”, you don’t necessarily think of it as a good thing. Other synonyms that may pop into your head are “burn out” and “exhaustion“. However, this is a very common misconception. Many people do not know this but stress isn’t necessarily always bad. Psychologists have proven that there is good stress and bad stress. The term “stress” is most commonly used to refer to the bad kind of stress, the type that can sometimes lead to depression and lower levels of productivity. It is the type that affects your physical and mental health, leading to all kinds of disorders.

The good kind of stress is called “eustress” and unlike the bad stress which has negative side effects, eustress has certain benefits for an individual when utilised properly.

Unlike regular stress which health professionals would advise you to stay away from and avoid, positive stress can temporarily contribute to your overall productivity. You just need to learn to recognise and balance it when it occurs, this way you can channel it towards achieving goals and increase your levels of motivation.

Even after learning about the different kinds of stress, there may be a bit of hesitation when it comes to accepting that some kinds of stress can be beneficial to you. In this article, we discuss eustress, distress, as well as stress management techniques that will help you channel your energy and motivation in the right direction.

Understanding Eustress

As stated earlier, stress doesn’t have to be negative all the time. As children, we are told that stress is bad and that it can have negative effects on your life and others. However, in the past century, new studies have been conducted to show that some kinds of stress can be channelled towards improving the health, motivation and productivity of an individual. This is the kind of stress we know as eustress.

Eustress is a positive kind of stress that makes you want to try new things and achieve your short term goals. Unlike negative stress which can be distracting, eustress pushes you to want to achieve more. It creates a healthy environment for positive feelings to take root and grow.

In order to achieve our goals and aspirations, a positive mindset is necessary. Eustress strategies can contribute to the creation of that mindset that makes it possible for us to focus on our goals and come up with healthy plans to achieve them.

When we go through eustress, we are more capable of sustaining motivation and putting in the effort we need to push towards our goals.

Differences between eustress and distress

As we know, there is a negative kind of stress that health professionals warn against. This is called “distress”.

Unlike eustress, distress has negative effects on your overall well being and ability to concentrate or be productive. By being a source of distraction, distress makes it difficult to focus on your goals.

Distress can also be misleading because it sometimes creates the illusion of focusing on challenges without really providing you with healthy resources or solutions to such problems.

The main difference between eustress and distress is found in the way they affect people. While eustress improves motivation, distress leads to increased levels of anxiety and insecurity.

Scientific research on the benefits of eustress

One of the researchers who contributed to the study of the distinction between distress and eustress was the popular endocrinologist Hans Selye. He postulated that even though stress often has a root cause, it doesn’t necessarily always need to have negative connotations.

According to him, some of the benefits of eustress are:

  • It is temporary
  • It improves motivation
  • It extends within our natural limits
  • It is invigorating
  • It sharpens focus and productivity
eustress

Eustress in Action

The best thing about eustress is the contribution it makes towards creativity and cognitive function. Since it motivates a person to do better, it triggers the parts of the brain responsible for creativity, ensuring that you are more capable of coming up with innovations that contribute to your productivity.

It ensures that you can direct your energy to the parts of your life that need it the most. This way, your mind opens up to solutions that can help you conquer setbacks and challenges. Eustress ensures that you see challenges more as learning experiences rather than insurmountable problems.

In the workplace, eustress drives you to contribute more towards the advancement of your career and the company goals, making you a better team player. Unlike distress which negatively affects your ability to be objective, eustress offers a more positive worldview that is necessary for growth and performance enhancement both at work and in your personal life.

The role of eustress in athletic performance

Many sports psychologists have spoken extensively on the effects of eustress on an athlete’s performance and resilience. For example, the presence of an audience often increases the athlete’s desire to perform better. In that case, it creates more motivation for the athlete to stay focused on the game if they can channel the motivation properly.

In addition, sports teams are made up of all kinds of people with different personalities. Each of these people have different effects on each other. The performance of an athlete can serve as a source of eustress that motivates their teammates to perform better.

 

The Dark Side of Distress

Both your mental and physical health take a hit when you are exposed to distress for an extended period. Unfortunately, distress can often be long-term unless it is checked early enough. Distress makes the body limit itself and disrupts the normal hormone balance of the body.

The constant presence of stressors causes your body to be in a flight-or-fight mode. While this reflex can be good, it doesn’t do the body much good to remain in that kind of state for too long.

Once your body’s stress response is on for a long time, your body’s normal processes are disrupted, leading to health complications such as:

  • Migraines
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Heart conditions
  • Insomnia
  • Fluctuating weight problems
  • Memory impairment

Stressors can be of different kinds depending on the lifestyle of the individual. In modern life, stress arises from many sources. The specifics of the sources of stress in a person’s life are dependent on their habits as well as their lifestyle. Some of the sources could be:

  • Finances
  • Work
  • Academics
  • Accident/injury
  • Dysmorphia
  • Sudden change in routine

Even though stress is a common factor experienced by many people, it is necessary to seek out healthy stress management strategies and wellness coaching to help us cope with the stressors and aid burnout prevention in our daily lives.

 

Digital Coaching as a Solution

Digital coaching is important because it gives you a chance to discuss with trained professionals who can offer suggestions on how to reduce stressors in your life. When you meet with a digital coach, you get a solution that is tailored to your specific circumstances. This way, you can directly address the sources of stress in your life and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

In this fast paced digital world, digital coaching is more effective than traditional coaching because it reduces the need to overcome geography to meet with a professional coach. You are able to access digital coaching services on your own time.

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The Future of Stress Management

Companies worldwide are now taking stress management seriously. This means that managers are looking into techniques that help employees manage their stress more efficiently. Digital coaching is one of those techniques.

Through technology, you can now access the guidance you need to handle your stress. You also gain efficient stress management techniques that enhance the quality of your life.

You need to know that not all stress is negative. This is the first step towards living a more fulfilling life. By channelling eustress to more productive activities, you become equipped with the resources you need to respond to stressors in a healthy manner.

 

Conclusion

Understanding that stress doesn’t need to cause harm is a real game changer as it makes you more capable of directing your energy to the right places. Plus, you earn an extra source of fuel and motivation.

Digital coaching can be a great stress management tool where you learn how to convert your stress both at work and in your personal life. Forming healthy connections between the two will push you towards a positive work-life balance that will improve your overall wellbeing.

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Samuel Olawole
Samuel Olawole is a freelance copywriter and content writer who specialises in creating exciting content across a wide range of topics and industries. When he’s not writing, you can find him travelling or listening to good music.

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