When most of us think of stress, we think of being overwhelmed. We tend to associate stress with negative feelings of anxiety, burnout and worry. But not all stress is bad. In fact, eustress is a form of stress that is actually very positive and good for your health.
What is Eustress?
Unlike distress, which is the negative stress we are used to thinking about, eustress is a “good” type of stress that has beneficial effects on health, motivation, performance and emotional well-being. We experience eustress when we are excited about something or motivated by a personal challenge. According to Healthline, it empowers us to grow in three areas:
- Emotionally – Results in feelings of contentment, inspiration, motivation, and flow.
- Psychologically – Helps build our self-efficacy, autonomy, and resilience.
- Physically – Helps build our body.
Although most of us only recognize negative stress, eustress can be found in all areas of life. It is common at work, in school, when we travel, when we participate in a hobby or extra-curricular activity, and even when we exercise. Generally, we can think of positive stress as what happens when we feel motivated and up for a challenge, not threatened.
Harnessing the Power of Eustress
It is no surprise that chronic negative stress can take a toll on the body. It can also lead to weight gain, which is an area where many people struggle. However, harnessing the power of eustress can help you combat negative stressors, stay motivated and feel happier.
Ways to make eustress a regular part of your life:
- Always welcome opportunities to try something new.
- Step out of your comfort zone as much as you can.
- Keep a list of short-term and long-term goals that you can measure progress toward.
- Maintain balance between your work life and home life.
- Avoid overscheduling and overcommitting yourself.
- Get regular exercise to release endorphins and challenge your body.
Finally, mindset is another powerful tool that can help you take advantage of eustress. Instead of letting a difficult task threaten to break you down, try to shift your mindset and see it as a challenge you want to overcome. This can help you feel less anxious and more motivated, which can also you avoid procrastination and reap the benefits of eustress.