Understanding Eustress & Distress: Is All Stress Bad?

Have you ever heard your coworker say how great they feel when they’re stressed? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t such a thing as positive stressors in our life. Positive stressors are important for your well being as they will help you achieve a balanced lifestyle.


Psychologists call ‘good stress’ eustress (yoo-stress). The term comes from the Greek prefix eu- meaning ‘good’ and ‘stress’, literally meaning “good stress”. Eustress can be physical, such as hitting the gym after a long day at work, or psychological like getting excited to work on a new project. If you’ve ever felt the rush while riding a rollercoaster, you’ve experienced good stress and the rush of hormones and adrenaline that comes with it. This type of rush is short-term, meant to motivate, can improve overall performance, and is perceived within our coping abilities. As it turns out, our hormones are actually helpful to our lifestyle! 

Say you get a promotion at work, knowing you can handle the new workload, or get asked out on a first date, these would be considered good stresses. There’s plenty of examples in our daily lives that prove it’s healthy to have a small amount of good stress every now and then. These physical reactions keep us feeling alive and excited about our life. 


Distress, on the other hand, is what comes from quick, negative surprises and is not considered good for our health long term. Typically, these common life stressors aren’t unbearable if we find a way to quickly relax and not let it take a toll on our bodies. The moment the distress has been mentally dealt with, we can then return to our pre-stressed state.

To keep a good work/life balance, we must learn how to control the bad stresses in our life. If we fail to learn how to handle distress, there’s a great risk of succumbing to these negative feelings. Many of us need to practice calming techniques to get us back to our de-stressed state to promote natural healing. Our bodies simply aren’t designed to handle chronic negativity and they aren’t able to fully heal when in this state. Many studies show the link between chronic stressors and significant physical issues. 

Functional medicine is a biology-based approach to understanding the root causes of diseases as well as psychological issues such as depression. Many tests can be done to help determine the root cause of any health issue, like testing our hormone levels, undergoing psychological examinations, and having bloodwork performed. Functional medicine is on the rise and can help us all achieve natural healing.

Understanding how good and bad stressors play a role in your life can help with balance while also helping you achieve a more healthy, well-rounded work/life balance that’s important to your overall health. 


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