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The two sides of stress: distress and eustress

Not all stress is bad

Not all stress is bad

A common misconception is that stress is bad and should be minimized at all cost.

However, depending on the particular stressors and your reaction, stress can be harmful (distress) or beneficial (eustress).

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The two sides of stress: distress and eustress

The two sides of stress: distress and eustress

https://nesslabs.com/distress-and-eustress

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Key Ideas

Not all stress is bad

A common misconception is that stress is bad and should be minimized at all cost.

However, depending on the particular stressors and your reaction, stress can be harmful (distress) or beneficial (eustress).

Distress versus eustress

Distress causes anxiety, while eustress is exciting. Distress can lead to procrastination, while eustress increases motivation.

Distress can impact your productivity, creativity, and mental health. Eustress is a short-term response and makes you feel energized and focused when faced with a challenge you think you can handle.

Benefits of eustress

Eustress has many benefits, especially for ambitious people who enjoy an exciting challenge.

  • Flow. When in flow, our attention is fully engaged, enjoying the absorption.
  • Resilience. Eustress is based on perception and helps you to react more positively to challenging situations.
  • Self-efficacy. Your judgment of how you carry out a required task is a measure of your level of self-efficacy. People with high self-efficacy may set higher goals and be motivated to achieve them.

How to foster eustress

Eustress is a positive reaction to stress and is based on perception. The potential sources of eustress vary between people.

Examples of stress which are commonly seen as positive include learning a new skill, starting a new job, going on a holiday, starting a family, moving, playing competitive sports or challenging video games, or having a complex but constructive debate.

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