Stress. We’ve all experienced it. The feeling of being overwhelmed as we attempt to deal with the many challenges that present during our day to day lives. But it’s important to note that not all stress is the same, and there really is no true definition of what stress actually entails. What being stressed may mean for one person, may mean something entirely different for the next. However, in general, stress can be thought of as being “the psychological perception of pressure and ultimately, the body’s response to it1”. And while stress is typically something we don’t welcome with open arms, it may be helpful to look at it through a different lens from time to time. Sometimes stress is just our body’s normal physiological way of responding to our surroundings and we may simply have to take the time to check in with our surroundings and to understand what our body is trying to tell us2. .
The terms Eustress and Distress have been used for decades as they have helped some better categorize root causes of stress. Eustress is thought to be stress that generates outcomes that are “beneficial” for the body. For example, Eustress may give us the motivation and drive to achieve goals, complete tasks, and perform to the best of our ability. However, when we increase our peak performance past our body’s physical, emotional, and mental limits, we start to enter into “Distress” territory2. One might describe distress to consist of unpleasant feelings, thoughts, conditions, or even behaviors. In this case, the stress that once provided motivation and achieving accomplishments, now is the source of anxiety, racing thoughts, and much more. However interestingly enough, whether it be eustress or distress, the body tends to respond to both in the same way, giving us non-specific signs that no matter the root cause, it feels stress in the nearby vicinity! Therefore, it’s important for us to have self check ins with our bodies, and to partake in activities that help to counterbalance the effects of stress. Because whether it’s “good stress” or “bad stress”, we must give our bodies what it needs to adapt to these ever changing forces surrounding us.
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