We know—the stress monster is always looming. But could it be true that some stress is actually good for you?
Eustress (eu means “good” in Greek) was a term coined by endocrinologist Hans Selye to describe the kind of stress that activates your body to work towards a tangible goal. Instead of causing your body and mind to shut down or go into fight-or-flight mode, eustress actually motivates you to get what you want!
When you start to feel challenged at work or in relationship, consider how this might be an opportunity for eustress rather than distress. As with so many things in life, the difference is mostly in how you perceive the situation.
When faced with a challenging event, like a disagreement with a colleague at work, there are always two roads to go down: You can either approach the situation as a problem, or as an opportunity for growth. This not-so-subtle distinction can mean the difference between triggering fight-or-flight or staying in the eustress zone.
One fast way to turn off fight-or-flight is to take a few breaths when you feel yourself being triggered. Keep in mind that you have the power to change your perspective on the situation, to “fly off the handle” or stay calm and collected. Just those few breaths can make all the difference, cueing your brain to shift out of aggression and into a more stable mind state.
Once you get in the habit of making difficult moments an opportunity to motivate yourself, learn, and grow in the process, you’ll find that much of what used to trigger you negatively is no longer so depleting. Instead, you can use these moments to learn more about yourself and to discover new paths to success.
This is the power of eustress—an awareness of it can help you transform stressful moments into motivators to reach your best self.