I was so excited all week to write about this. Eustress.
My best friend Tina, gave me her dictionary. I needed an updated one. Because Eustress wasn’t in the 1993 version. Its not in the 2007 version either. So, Dictionary.com, thank you. According to dictionary.com, eustress is a noun. Its definition is “stress that is deemed healthful or giving one the feeling of fulfillment. It comes from the Greek eu or ‘well, good’ plus stress equals eustress. So what is Eustress exactly?
There have been many studies as of late about Eustress. We all know about distress, but few know about eustress. So let’s figure it out. In short, it’s stress that is good for us. Yup. Stress that is good for us. You may ask, “But Season, how can stress be good for us? Doesn’t it cause hair loss, heart attacks and divorce?”
Distress, according to either dictionary is defined as “to cause suffering of mind or body; pain or suffering; severe physical or mental strain; a very painful situation; a state of danger or desperate need.” (It has nothing in there about style of jeans)
Stress, according to either dictionary is defined as “pressure, mental or physical; strain; emphasis; (physics) a system of forces producing or sustaining strain; to exert pressure on; to emphasize.”
Eustress is stress caused by my fiancé, Eusebio. Just kidding. It’s good stress. Pleasant or curative stress. Some examples of eustress are buying your first home, going on vacation, getting ready for a first date, getting a promotion. All of these are great examples of eustress and while they may seem daunting at times, it’s progression. It’s something that we feel that we have some control over.
There is the eustress of “going for it.” It can inspire, make us feel great once we accomplish that goal. Life changes can be very stressful. Having a baby, getting married, and buying that first house is stress. But it’s all in how we manage it that dictates what kind of stress it will be. It can empower us. It can fuel us. It can weaken us. Even make us sick.
When I bought my first house, all by myself, with my own money, it was amazing. But then the bills, the moving expenses and utility deposits, being scared of the dark and OMG!!! The power went out. But I handled it well, (minus the power going out) I felt so empowered when I fixed the toilet, or installed the faucet, or fixed the fan and did all the maintenance myself. It was empowering, invigorating and it made me proud. When I painted it, mowed the lawn, got out of bed and made coffee and looked at my new furniture in my awesome own house, wow. What a feeling! I still own that home. And I even have tenants in it. 🙂 Good stress. Eustress.
However, when I took my 16 year old daughter and 8 year old son to Jamaica for our first vacation – just the 3 of us – packing for that trip was not handled so well. I lost my mind several times. I packed 9, yes 9 bags of stuff with us. Including a massive first aid kid, because what if the 5 star resort we stayed on didn’t have any band-aids. Or what if they lost one of our suitcases? I packed everything super neurotically. I had lists of every single item and what bag it was in, and it really stressed me out. Not to mention my poor children. And, to make matters even worse, I was in a cast, awesome, sand in my cast. LOL! I still consider getting there a massive, anxiety filled time. What if my awesome, completely kidnappable kids got kidnapped by kidnappers? What if they stopped me at the border and arrested me because my son has a different last name than me? Where were our passports? Where’s that letter that my son’s father had to sign to say that I could take him out of the country? Then…my daughter (sorry Miss) got pink eye. What if they quarantined her? Oh yeah, I lost it. But the 7 days we spent in Jamaica were the best 7 days ever. The kids never fought, (they never really do anyway) the service was great. Oh man. I would love to go back. So it turns out all my freaking out was all for nothing. We had a wonderful time. But how I handled the anxiety, planning and assumptions was what made it bad.
How are you going to handle your next stress? Will it be distress? Will it be eustress? Will it empower and invigorate you when you reach for the top? Will you freak out and panic and break out into a sweat and elevate your blood pressure? Will you learn from it and grow? Or will you be bitter and feel like the world is on your shoulders?
Really, the choice is yours. It’s up to you. That’s what’s so cool about it. You can either be excited and learn and overcome and win, or…not. And if you need great tips on how to handle stress, or someone to help bring out the best of you while you buy your first home, I know a great Life Coach.
Thank you for reading my blog. J