Eustress – the Positive Stress

What is Eustress?

Normally, we talk negatively about stress.  More often than not, we associate stress with the harmful effects that it can create, both to the body as well as to the mind.  This type of negative stress can also be termed as “distress”.  On the other hand, “eustress” is the exact opposite of “distress”.  The term eustress is first coined by a Canadian endocrinologist Hans Seyle to mean stress that is healthy due to the fulfillment or other positive feeling that it can bring to life.

The Importance of Eustress

Eustress plays an important role in order for us to lead a healthy and fulfilling life.  It gives us the motivation to reach our goals.  Life without goal and direction will be meaningless.  In fact, this type of life can lead to distress.  Having created goals in life, it is important for us to follow through the steps and plans to reach our destinations. We have to work and strive hard and these strivings often exert stress on our body.  However, unlike negative stress, such as anxiety and fear, this type of stress is an enjoyable stress which helps us in focusing and completing the tasks.  Eventually, we feel happy, joyous and elated of having accomplished our tasks.

Life’s Perspectives

The quality of life that we are leading depends on our perspectives.  Whenever we are confronted with difficulties, we can either regard it positively or negatively.  If you perceive this difficulty as a threat, then you have created negative stress in your life.  However, if you can successfully recondition your mind and regard the negativity that you are facing not as a threat but as a challenge to overcome, then you have inadvertently build an inner strength in your life.  You have then successfully turned the stressor in your life from distress to eustress.

The Key is to Maintain Balance

The key to maintain happiness is to maintain a balance in life.  Too little stress will lead to bored and unfulfilled life.  On the other end of the spectrum, too much stress will lead us to feeling overwhelmed and inability to cope.  The key is to strike a balance between over exertion and under stimulation.  By maintaining the optimal level of stress that works for you in life (eustress), you will experience a level of happiness that you have never experienced before.

Some Suggestions to Achieve Eustress

As mentioned earlier in this article, set a goal or several goals in life.  This goal has to be achievable and will not create an undue amount of stress in achieving it.  You can also find the purpose in your life.  By having a purpose in life, such as helping others through the skills that you possess, you will lead a happier life.  If you are experiencing a stress level that is too much to bear, then it is time to let go or do things that you find pleasurable and relaxing.  Finally, try new things in life that will instill greater positivity such as learning new languages or taking up dance classes, fitness, yoga or meditation.

positive stress negative stress eustress  Eustress – the Positive Stress

  • Mulyadi Kurnia

    Hi Bill

    I agree with you. A lot of it depends on the individual perception of the stimuli. What one finds stressful, other might find it challenging 🙂

    thanks for the comment.

  • Bill Walker

    Very nice article. I think the concept of eustress is quite undervalued although it can work miracles on dealing with stress and anxiety.

    Sometimes the line between eustress and destress can be quite dim; I think it depends on the skills we have.

    A big challenge can be engaging if we have the skills to deal with it, while a smaller one can be a great destressor if the required skills are not there…