Stress- Definition and Impact on Overall Health
Stress, distress, eustress- just thinking about those terms may make you stress out! Don't worry, this lesson will define them and show plenty of examples of them in a manner that will calm your mind!
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Types of Stress
At the end of this lesson, you’ll be taking a quiz about the things we’re about to go over. That quiz is almost certainly going to cause you a little bit of stress. Hopefully, only a little bit. But some stress may be good for you, while other types of stress might be bad. Let’s find out how, why, and what in the world stress is anyways.
Stress is the psychological and physiological response to any real or imagined disruptions, demands, stimulations, or changes in life. Bad stress, stress that occurs as a result of unpleasant events and lowers the quality of life, is known as distress . This is in contrast to eustress , good stress, stress that enhances a person’s quality of life. ‘ D istress is set to D epress, but e U stress can bring yo U s U ccess.’ You’ll find out why in just a bit.
Eustress in Detail
More than likely, you may be a bit skeptical about stress being good since we all constantly hear how it’s bad for us, but this isn’t always so. For example, eustress can result from:
Participating in a ball game you love
Anticipating a drop in a roller coaster ride you enjoy
Falling in love with someone
Having a child
Basically, eustress comes from participating in or anticipating a pleasurable experience. Eustress can feel exciting and improves our performance and motivation. Starting a new job may be stressful, but eustress can give you a feeling of wanting to succeed, impress, and will motivate you to do better.
Eustress is a manageable type of stress and doesn’t overwhelm you or last long like some types of distress. Too little eustress and you might be bored; too much eustress and you may be endangering your health like adrenaline junkies might when seeking out this pleasurable form of stress by doing stuff like skydiving and base jumping over and over again.
Distress in Detail
Distress, as you can by now only imagine, comes from being embroiled in or anticipating unpleasant things. Things like:
A close person’s death
Loss of a job
Legal or financial difficulties
Injury or abuse
Unlike eustress, this stress:
Causes anxiety and is, thus, unpleasant
Leads someone to feel as if they are overwhelmed and unable to cope
Decreases a person’s performance in things like work or life in general
Might lead to mental and physical health problems
May be short or long-term
Distress, especially over the long-term, can lead to a ton of mental and physical health problems I just alluded to. The details of that will be discussed more so in another lesson, but they include things like heart problems and sleep disorders.
Fight or Flight
Now, even a potentially unpleasant event that causes distress may not be a bad thing in the short-term. One notable example of this is the fight or flight response , our response to stress that makes the body prepare to confront or avoid a situation.
This type of stress response by the body is very quick in onset. It cuts off the blood supply to any unnecessary organs and tissues in your body and focuses most of the important resources on things like the heart, lungs, certain blood vessels, and muscles to help you gain strength and energy to either confront something with power and vigor or run away from it as quickly as possible.
A good example of this would be if you were to be walking outside in the woods, only to come across a bear out of nowhere! You would, even without thinking about it, enter into this primitive and instinctive stress response in order to do everything you can to survive a potential bear attack.
In all honesty, I hope you never find yourself in such a situation, as it is very frightening and truly stressful. Stress is the psychological and physiological response to any real or imagined disruptions, demands, stimulations, or changes in life. Bad stress, stress that occurs as a result of unpleasant events and lowers the quality of life is known as distress . This is in contrast to eustress , good stress, stress that enhances a person’s quality of life.
Eustress can come about from pleasurable things, like participating in a game you like or having a child. It motivates you, improves performance, feels exciting, and is manageable. This is unlike distress, which causes anxiety, may make someone feel overwhelmed and unable to cope, decreases their performance, and leads to mental and physical health problems.
Distress can come from a wide variety of sources, including from the loss of a friend or a job. One particular form of distress, one that can actually save your life, is the fight or flight response , our response to stress that makes the body prepare to confront of avoid a situation, like a bear attack.
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