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Eustress versus Distress

Stress is both good and bad depending on the source, length of exposure and our reaction (positive or negative). Different situations and life events can cause stress. On the one hand, good stress, eustress, motivates us to action and stimulates us in good ways.

Eustress leads to excitement and anticipation. Life changes, small challenges and new experiences often cause short-term eustress. Examples of situations inciting eustress include being in a new relationship, trying a new workout or physical challenge, starting a new project or job at work. Though similar in physical reaction to chronic, overwhelming stress (initially), eustress typically incites positive change or growth as a result. It’s good for us, improving resiliency and giving life purpose.

Chronic, overwhelming stress from negative situations is not so healthy. It can be persistent, long-lasting and emotionally draining versus energizing. Difficult situations may cause excessive worry. It’s important to do what you can to control this type of stress, even if it’s by reframing the issue or changing how you respond to the situation. Click here for stress management strategies. One way to change your mindset is to change how you think of a stressor. Thinking of it as a challenge versus a threat can make a big difference in your attitude and approach.




What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is state of being. It’s not a specific exercise or activity. Being mindful is characterized by having a heightened sense of awareness and acceptance (without judgement). It doesn’t involve clearing your mind or getting lost in your thoughts. On the contrary, you are aware of physical sensations, thoughts and feelings as they occur, completely in the present moment. When you notice a thought, such as ‘I feel anxious,’ you leave it there. You don’t judge the feeling, elaborate on it or try to change it. Simply observe it.

You tune into sounds, smells, notice how your body moves and feels. You pay attention to your breathing. It’s a matter of taking everything in through a sense of awareness and peace. There are many ways to practice mindfulness, such as through meditation, a walk in nature, eating with mindfulness and being aware of all of your senses: seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling. You are not distracted with thoughts but are present in the moment, in the place, taking everything in.

Why practice mindfulness? Benefits include improved mental processing speed, focus and clarity, less intense/frequent feelings of anxiety and depression, improved adaptability during times of stress, decreased rumination and an enhanced ability to manage your emotions.