Stress – the mere mention of the word generates a negative connotation in our minds. Every day we are bombarded with emotional pressure. Deadlines at work, the economy, and raising a family are just a few of the worries many Americans are facing. So, stress is bad – right?
All stress is not created equal. Experts are now defining stress in two categories: Distress and eustress. By definition, eustress is good stress. Can there be such a thing as good stress? Yes, stress can occur during times of transition to better things. Perhaps you just got promoted, are running your first marathon, or have a new baby on the way. Though these are happy occasions, your body will still experience stress.
As far as the human body is concerned, stress cannot be categorized. Your body cannot tell the difference between distress (bad stress), and eustress (good stress). Both types of stress can cause damage if left unchecked.
The Impact Stress Has on our Body
Why is it important to know how to deal with both distress and eustress? Stress is a major contributing factor to physical and emotional health. Knowing how to balance stress is crucial to avoiding long term medical problems. Our intent should be to prevent our natural state (“ease”) from being imbalanced or disrupted, resulting in “dis-ease”.
You may be thinking, “That’s easier said than done” – and you’d be correct. We can’t maintain a proper balance of everything; some things are beyond our control. For example: though it solves your budget issues, your new promotion may result in stressful training. That amazing little bundle of joy may keep you up all hours of the night, leaving you exhausted and prone to stress.
Controlling Our Stress
Of course, we can’t control everything. The key is finding and working on the stressors that are within your control. With the birth of a new child, you may lose control over your sleep schedule. However, you can make a conscious choice to take a nap and let the dishes wait – avoiding self-imposed stress.
So, in order to balance stress (good or bad) we need to control the things we can and let go of the things we cannot.
Tips to Effectively Deal With Stress
- Sleep. Everything seems better after a nap. Sleep will help reboot your system and prepare you for obstacles. Make it a priority.
- Diet. Sugars and refined foods tax your adrenals and can put you into fight-or-flight mode. There is truth in the statement “you are what you eat.” Don’t underestimate the role diet plays in emotional health.
- Breathe. Take a breathing break. Frequent short breaks during the day allow you to breathe deeply and relax your mind. Doing this regularly prevents stress from building up.
- Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins into the body. Endorphins relieve stress. Yoga is an excellent choice of exercise that will work to manage stress.
Whether you’re under distress or eustress, know that unchecked stress can be damaging to your health. Control what you can, make rest a priority, and use exercise as an outlet to keep stress in perspective.
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