Stress. We all feel it, we all live with it, and I bet most of us wish we had a better way to deal with it. But stress is not all bad. So, which stress is good for you?
As far back as I can remember stress has been something we’ve been told to avoid at all costs. It has been understood to cause heart attacks, panic attacks, and then some. More and more we are finding research that shows stress can lead to some severe health issues too. Things like memory impairment, depression, skin conditions, difficulty sleeping, obesity, heart disease, digestive problems and, autoimmune diseases. When we live in a continuous state of distress, its easier for things inside of us to go sideways. Our bodies are on high alert all the time and we humans aren’t built to live like this. And, it sucks when we do.
The message has always been to live a life free of stress so to avoid it turning chronic. Our body was not meant to live in a constant flight or flight response. But research is showing that it’s actually helpful to experience stress, it just depends on how you view it. This is what they call Eustress. Moderate or normal psychological stress interpreted as being beneficial for the experiencer.
Eustress can be helpful and is required for our overall wellbeing.
Eustress can be helpful and is required for our overall wellbeing. This is the type of “good” stress that keeps us vital and motivated about life. The excitement of starting a new job or public speaking or even running a marathon are all examples of eustress. The possibility of a first date, planning a wedding or the first time you take your baby home from the hospital all fall into this category. Stressful for sure, but not in a negative way.
Understanding eustress can help us manage our stress too. For example, research shows that when an experience is regarded as a “threat,” we respond to it differently than if seen as a “challenge.”
I remember when I was first diagnosed with late-stage cancer back in October of 2013. My very initial thought was that I was more likely to die being hit by a bus because I don’t look before I cross the street than die of cancer. It just didn’t make sense to me. I felt so healthy, and for some unknown reason, I viewed getting sick as lucky right from the get-go. It was as if I had been given time to truly figure out who I was and what mattered to me. Before my illness, I worried and felt defeated every day because I didn’t know what I wanted out of life. I felt as if I had no real purpose or point. Cancer made me stand at attention.
Eustress doesn’t usually carry the same type of damage as chronic stress.
That said, while eustress doesn’t usually carry the same type of damage as chronic stress, too much eustress can still overload your system. A balance between work and fun is important. Changing your outlook can surely help with stress management, but it’s not the only way to manage it, and it’s not the only strategy that should be practiced. Interested in finding out how Lucia Light meditation can help deal with some of that stress, click here to book your session.