Everyone knows how bad stress is for your health and happiness. It can cause all sorts of problems like insomnia, muscle tension, and stomach pain, and if left untreated can lead to health issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. But what if everything you thought you knew about stress is wrong?
What is Stress?
According to Dr. Hans Selye, one of the foremost authorities on stress, defines it as “nonspecific response of the human organism to any demand that is placed on it.”Let’s take a closer look at the word “nonspecific” because this is a key to the perception you may have about stress being always “bad”.
“Nonspecific”, according to Dr. Selye, indicates that the body reacts in a similar fashion when encountering a stress-causing even, also called a stressor. And he goes on to say that a stressor can be ANY event that disrupts the body’s normal internal state, regardless of the nature of the event. Stressors can come from both psychological and physiological — and our bodies, minds and hearts have a built in “stress response” to any situation that is new, uncomfortable, feels threatening or frightening and even exciting.
I want to introduce to you two terms, EUSTRESS & DISTRESS, maybe you have heard of them before. Dr. Selye uses them to describe how people might respond or react to stress.
Eustress is positive and your health and performance continue to improve even as stress increases
Distress is negative or harmful, unpleasant and your health and performance deteriorates.
Here’s a link to a super simplistic summary view of the two terms : Eustress vs Distress and as a leader of yourself and if you are a leader of others this simple drawing and explanation of a secret to staying more and more on the side of Eustress is in this video and refers to Kelly McGonigal PhD and her book, “Upside of Stress”
What Are Your Beliefs About Stress?
Do you believe that stress is harmful to your health?