Eustress: The Positive Version of Stress


While stress is often associated with negative situations, it can actually be a good thing. Stress, essentially, is your body’s response to any type of threat or demand (real or imagined). There are also two categories of stress: distress or the one that causes anxiety and feels unpleasant, and eustress or the good kind that makes you feel alive and excited about life.

Most of us are familiar with distress, which is typically caused by negative situations like losing a job or a loved one getting diagnosed with an illness. Eustress, on the other hand, sits at the opposite of the spectrum. It is caused by positive experiences such as getting married and starting a new job.


What is eustress?

As previously mentioned, eustress is a type of positive stress that boosts your mood and helps you feel good about life. It can also refer to the challenges that allow you to improve, grow, or become physically stronger and emotionally resilient. This type of stress can be a great motivating force for you to do better and work harder to achieve your goals.

Unlike distress or chronic stress, eustress is short-term and lifts your spirits. It enables you to tackle situations in positive ways while promoting feelings of energy, excitement, and satisfaction. Being in a state of eustress allows you to be intensely focused on a task, which can then enhance your performance.

You may experience eustress if you feel excited, absorbed, thrilled, determined, and inspired. You may be facing a new challenge or obstacle at the moment, but you know and believe that you can handle it. It may push you a bit out of your comfort zone, but you feel good about it and are looking forward to tackling that challenge.

Eustress vs. distress

Distress is the most commonly known type of stress and is what people refer to when they describe or talk about stress. If eustress is accompanied by excitement and motivation, distress is associated with feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.

It can also manifest itself in physical and emotional symptoms and can benefit from therapy or stress management when it becomes overwhelming.

The positive version of stress The negative version of stress
Typically short-term Can be short-term or long-term
Feels doable or manageable Feels overwhelming
Feels exciting and energizing Feels unpleasant
Improves focus and performance Reduces focus and impairs performance
Perceived as within our coping abilities Perceived as outside our coping abilities
Helps build self-esteem Crashes or breaks down self-esteem

How can eustress help you grow?

While eustress is called the positive stress, it doesn’t always feel good. It can make your heart pound, feel worried or overwhelmed, and give your body an adrenaline rush. The good news is it is short-term and can be good for you. Eustress can make you feel confident, capable, stimulated by the stress or pressure from the activity at hand.

  • Improve emotional resilience – Facing challenges allows you to become stronger or more resilient. Eustress helps build your autonomy and self-efficacy, so you can learn, grow, and thrive in life.
  • Do better – You can use failures or turn rejections to your advantage by improving yourself and reassessing your approach. Eustress can help you stay focused and learn from experience, so you can get ready for the next opportunity.
  • Physical benefit – A tough or challenging workout can make you anxious. Eustress can help you stay motivated to achieve your goals or get the body you want.

What are some examples of eustress?

Positive or good stress can show up in different areas of life. Here are some examples of eustress:

  • Work or career – Taking on a new job or a project can be particularly stressful at first. But there is a good side to it. It will motivate you to push forward, as well as hone or develop new and existing skills.
  • Traveling – Traveling is stressful, especially if you’re going somewhere far away with a different language and unfamiliar customs. This can, however, provide you with new experiences that can expand your mind and shape your worldview.
  • Life changes – The wedding day is a special event for both the bride and groom, but planning it can be stressful. The same is also true for having a new baby or becoming new parents. Major life events like these can cause eustress, but they can be rewarding and lead to positive life changes.
  • Hobbies/personal interests – Pursuing a new hobby or taking a class can be scary at first, but as you push through or learn from your mistakes, you’ll start to see the fruits of your labor. Setting goals to pursue your passion can cause eustress and motivate you to keep on learning and improving.

Other examples of eustress include:

  • Accomplishing a difficult challenge
  • The thrill experienced when watching horror movies
  • The joy or thrilled experienced on a roller coaster ride
  • The excitement of winning a race
  • Doing (and pushing through) a tough workout

How to include more good stress in your life

It is likely that you may already be experiencing some positive stress in your daily life. If you, however, want to include more of it, here are some things that can help.

  • Try a new exercise routine or a fitness program.
  • Take a class or a language lesson.
  • Develop a new skill or take on a new task or responsibility.
  • Learn something new every day.
  • Set challenging, yet realistic goals.

Ways to manage stress better

Eustress and distress work the same way throughout the body. They activate your central nervous system, making you feel more alert and aware. You should also know that good stress can become bad stress when a situation becomes too much to handle. It can also happen when other obstacles or stressors occur at the same time.

Long-term distress can have negative effects on the body. The continuous activation of your stress response doesn’t allow your body to return to its normal resting state. This only makes it important to engage in activities or habits that can reduce stress.

Here are some ways to manage stress:

  • Exercise daily – A 30-minute physical activity daily can boost your mood and improve overall health. It also doesn’t have to be a rigorous workout; you can try walking, jogging, or climbing the stairs.
  • Try relaxation techniques – These include yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises. Scheduling time for these activities allows your mind and body to relax and focus, as well as promote mindfulness.
  • Stay connected – Keep in touch with friends and loved ones who can provide practical and emotional support. Simply sharing your feelings and concerns with another person can lighten your burden and help relieve stress.
  • Take a break – Listen to your body. If you are tired and overwhelmed, step away from whatever it is you’re doing. Take a break or engage in activities that you enjoy and can take your mind off things.
  • Be kind to yourself – Don’t be too hard on yourself. Try to keep things in perspective and think about the things you are thankful for in your life.

Seek professional help

If you feel like you cannot cope, seek professional help right away. Depending on the symptoms you are experiencing, you will either need to see a physician and/or a therapist. Medical and mental health professionals can help treat your stress symptoms, so you can start to feel better.

Therapy can help address the symptoms of stress and teach you healthy stress management techniques. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), for instance, is particularly beneficial, as it can change the way you think and behave, especially in stressful situations.

Here are the other ways therapy can help with stress management:

  • Identify the stressors in your life and the main contributor to your distress
  • Provide a safe space to talk about or release your emotions
  • Find coping mechanisms and other activities that suit you
  • Teach you mindfulness-based approaches for dealing with stress

If you can’t seem to manage stress or its emotional symptoms, don’t hesitate to take online therapy on Calmerry or see a mental health professional. This is particularly helpful if you’re also dealing with mental health disorders like anxiety or depression.

Hi, I'm Raj Hirvate and I am a Tech Blogger from India. I like to post about technology and product reviews to the readers of my blog. Apart from blogging i'm a big Anime fan I Love Watching Naruto, One piece and Death Note.