Do you have physical signs that warn your stress level is getting out of control? Many people notice headaches, backaches and many other physical discomforts when they are getting stressed out. These signs can increase stress, but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you take the time to identify the type of stress you are dealing with, you can overcome it.
Psychologists now recognize two types of stress:
The main difference between these types of stress is that one can help you become more productive and successful, while the other is quite toxic in your life.
Think of eustress as an anxious internal irritation or intense anticipation of things to come. It is your restless spirit, eagerly awaiting things to happen. You feel this type of stress just before stepping on stage to give a speech you have waited months to deliver. You feel it sitting down across the table with your boss to ask for a raise. You feel it to some extent when making an elaborate meal for your spouse on your anniversary.
You feel stress in these moments because you are anticipating something and wishing for the best, yet there is no certainty of success. Even if you fail in these situations, it doesn’t threaten your life. Therefore, it is more expectation and desire than fear.
Eustress can actually help you be more productive toward your goals and can help you do your best. It can be a positive influence in your life.
Stress has a very negative impact on your life. This is where real fear, frustration and anxiety come into your life. You may go into a situation with dread and trembling hands because you sense real harm could come to you. Situations that cause this type of stress can negatively affect your health over time.
For instance, if you work in a career that causes this form of intense stress all the time, you will eventually burnout. Your negative stress is fueled by the unrealistic demands of the job and the negative people around you. Your body cannot handle it. If continued, this form of stress can lead into heart attacks, strokes, and emotional breakdowns.
If you think you work best when there is some adrenaline in your system form stress, reconsider what it is doing inside your body. Your immune system suffers more and more as you expose yourself to this form of stress. This is why those who are overworked and exhausted are more vulnerable to every sniffle, sneeze and cough that enters the office.
You have to first understand stress, so you can learn to overcome it. Start keeping a mood journal about how you feel every hour of the day and where you are at the time. Note whether you feel eustress or harmful stress. You will be able to answer these questions after a week or two of recording:
- What is making you feel stressed out?
- Are there locations where you feel the most stressed out?
- Are there people in your life who contribute to your stress?
- Are there activities that make you feel more stressed?
- Have there been recent changes that have caused or taken away stress?
Once you understand the situations, locations, people, and activities that contribute to your stress, you can eliminate it as much as possible. What stress cannot be eliminated can be dealt with differently. When you are experiencing eustress, you will feel better just knowing it is working for you, not against you.
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