Eustress is good stress, the type and level of stress that invigorates and motivates, energizes and excites you. The term comes from the Greek prefix eu- meaning “good”. The fascinating thing is that in many ways the difference between good stress and bad stress is a matter of interpretation. One person is thrilled to give a speech, another is terrified, one individual loves to fly or finds heights fascinating, another is petrified.
How we are impacted by stress in large measure depends on how we choose to think about it, which in turn impacts our reactions, both internally and externally. Stress after all is not an event per se but rather a reaction to an event, a reaction that is within our ability to control. One of my favorite calming devices is to say to myself “There is someone on the other side of the globe that doesn’t care about this; I’m going to be them for a while.” Another is to imagine the worst that could really happen as a practical matter and assure myself I would find a way to adjust, a way to be happy. Plus, would it really make that big a difference a year from now?
The goal is to use stress as energy and as motivation. The key is interpretation, how you choose to frame what is happening. Your mindset is powerful: optimistic people, people who have high levels of self-esteem, who believe they can impact outcomes, tend to experiences less negative stress. They know that while they cannot change the wind, they are confident they can adjust the set of their sails. This belief system has a calming, centering effect that increases the effectiveness of their response.
The power dwells within you to transmute stress into engaged, enthusiastic, exhilarating energy; it lies in the meaning you choose, the story you decide to tell yourself: If you fully understood the power of your mind, you would never think another negative thought!
“It is how people respond to stress that determines whether they will profit from misfortune or be miserable.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, ‘Flow’
“The right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.” – Hans Selye, endocrinologist, 1907-1982, ‘Stress without Distress’
“The very same mechanisms that produce excitement also produce fear and fear can be transformed into excitement by breathing fully with it.” – Gay Hendricks, ‘The Big Leap’
“Stress is not always a ‘bad’ thing. Stress motivates us to changes our behaviors and move us closer to our chosen goals, dreams and aspirations. If we felt no stress, we would not be compelled to act in ways that bring about meaningful change.” – Laura Schenck, M.A., Mindfulness Muse
As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier