If you are like most people, you are familiar with stress.  You’ve experienced it. You’ve reacted to it. But you might have a hard time coming up with a definition for what stress is exactly.  For sure you can describe how it makes you feel, i.e. overwhelmed, frustrated, tense, depressed, out of control, unproductive.

Did you know that it also can be described as motivating, creative, exciting, clarifying and exhilarating?

What is stress really? Is it negative or positive?

Answer.  It’s all of the above and more. Stress is the body’s reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional adjustment or response. Therefore, stress is a part of all of our daily lives. 

How stress affects your life in contingent on your perception and how you think about stress. Remember, from a physiological standpoint, stress is the body’s way of responding to any kind of demand.  For instance, when in imminent danger, it alerts us to run, fight or freeze.  When impassioned, it ignites us into inspired action. Stress can also be a neutral response to any given event or circumstance.  

It is reasonable that we would want less of the negative, harmful responses to stress and more of the positive, productive effects. And, because language is essential to how we view, understand and react to life, it’s important to use the correct names that can help us distinguish the three described examples of stress stimuli above.  Neutral stress is neustress; negative stress is distress and positive stress is eustress.   

Knowing the distinction between neustress, distress and eustress makes it easier to design a lifestyle that poses the best opportunity for a well-lived life.   Why would that be?

Words, language, and emotional sensibility form our perception or worldview. 

Our worldview instructs what actions to take in our lives. In turn, actions generate the results we create. When we use words that explicitly describe our life experience, our emotions are less cluttered or jumbled up in misconceptions.  Accordingly, our perceptions are clearer and less chaotic.  We then can generate more appropriate outcomes we want in our life. 

In light of your own opinions and worldview, the ultimate impact of the types of stress you experience comes down to how you see the stressor. What hardly affects one person can have a great impact on another. It all depends on your interpretation.

Interpretation is tied to the meaning you have to the words you use.  In essence, if you desire a life that is harmonious, energetic and purposeful to your own unique design, an uncluttered mind, emotional stamina and clear understanding of your stressors is essential.  Whether you believe an event to be good, bad or neutral is, at the end of the day, it is up to you.   

Tips for eliminating distress & augmenting eustress 

  • Meditation: Increases grey matter in the brain responsible for emotional regulation and learning. 
  • Exercise. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries. 
  • Question your thoughts. Just because your mind creates a thought doesn’t make it true.  
  • Let yourself have fun. Fun keeps you feeling vital and alive. 
  • Less is more.  Decluttering your life can make you more focused, relaxed & productive 

Learn more about how to harness your stress, contact Tracy Jo.