Getting some perspective on stress


In the midst of the general worry about how stressful life is today, I think 4 key points are often forgotten.

1.  Not all stress is negative.  There is both eustress (good stress) and distress (bad stress).

The distinction between positive stress and negative stress was first made by Dr Lennart Levi in 1971 but it was endocrinologist Hans Selye who coined the terms eustress and distress.  Selye, who had by that time been studying the causes and effects of stress for over four decades, explained the distinction between good and bad stress in his book Stress Without Distress.  When we talk about stress in casual terms we are usually referring to distress – something that causes us anxiety or concern because we are not sure of our ability to cope with it.  Eustress, conversely, is caused by a stimulus we find invigorating or exciting.  It enhances, rather than…

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