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Eustress & Distress – Interpretations of Stress

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What is Eustress

Are you aware that there are two categories of stress: Eustress and Distress?

Eustress or positive stress is essentially the force of evolution that is always pushing us a long our path and can be a motivator and provide incentive to get a job done or to overcome a challenge.

For example, enthusiasm is a motivator that allows us to express our intentions and we could consider this a positive stress.

Eustress is a term coined by endocrinologist Hans Selye and the word consists of two parts. The prefix eu- derives from the Greek word meaning either “well” or “good.” When attached to the word stress, it translates to “good stress”.

Everyone needs some degree of “good stress” or “positive pressure” in their life in order to remain awake, be motivated, challenged and productive. It is when this stress is no longer tolerable or manageable that distress manifests.

We can also interpret the good pressures or stresses as something negative.  Many people misinterpret this and consider normal routine responsibilities that we have to do each day as negative stress.

Negative stress is distress

Negative stress, or distress, is when the good stress becomes too much to bear or we have trouble coping – tension builds and there is no longer any fun or satisfaction in the challenge and there seems to be no relief or no end in sight. This is the kind of stress most of us are familiar with and leads to many other problems including poor decision making about the problem or challenge itself.

Physiological symptoms of distress increase blood pressure, breathing and tension and correspondingly, many stress hormones appear in the body such as cortisol. Scientific evidence confirms that elevated level of cortisol over time can be damaging to our physical health.

Consequential behavioural symptoms include overeating, loss of appetite, drinking, smoking and negative coping mechanisms.

Stress tolerance

Stress tolerance is the power to endure stress. A person’s tolerance to stress is not only different according to the person but is also influenced by time and circumstance.

People who meditate under the FISU Meditation system find the ability to manage stress much more easily and generally have better resilience.

The key to coping with stress is not to expect that you can eliminate it immediately; but rather at first, to manage the symptoms.  We can eradicate the cause through spiritual unfoldment, a process quickly and efficiently evoked through the practice of individually prescribed meditation.

Relaxation is so very important

Being in a relaxed state allows us to manage stress much more effectively, and regardless of the challenge, as we are relaxed, we remain more objective and at the same time productive to find a resolution to the challenge or problem.

Ways to Become “Stress-Resistant”, more tolerant and convert distress to eustress!

  • Meditate regularly (Twice daily for 20-30 minutes as taught in the FISU system )
  • Practise Gurushakti (A FISU spiritual practice for tuning in to Universality)
  • Practise Pranayama (A FISU spiritual breathing practice – a negative stress and tension buster)
  • Stop feeling guilty (See our blog: Learning to love yourself by overcoming guilt)
  • Be decisive (Make a decision and stick to it)
  • Avoid being a perfectionist (Be faithful to something rather than fanatical)
  • Set priorities for yourself (It’s good to challenge yourselves – but keep it real)
  • Be better organised (Organisation and method go hand in hand and require effort)
  • Stop procrastinating (Just get the job done – what you leave today will also be there tomorrow)
  • Set only realistic person goals (Only set realistic and achievable goals – rather small ones and more frequent)
  • View problems as challenges (A challenge is there to help us grow)

……………..Rajesh Ananda

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