Managing Stress

A Refreshing Guide to Explore When Coping With Every day Stress

Types Of Stressors – Eustress Vs Distress

Stress vs Distress

Eustress and Distress

It has been repeated quite a few times that stress indeed is a very bad thing. If we put it simply stress is nothing but the body’s way of responding to changes that put demands on it. However, according to some experts there are two types of stresses, namely Eustress and Distress.

While Eustress refers to a negative stress on the other hand Distress is used to refer to negative stress. However, in our daily life we are used to refer to stress for negative situations. This ultimately makes us believe that all types of stress are bad to say the least. This is not true and it would be therefore worthwhile to have a closer look at both Eustress and Distress.

See also: Top 10 Common Life Stressors!

Eustress Characteristics

Let us begin with Eustress and the various characteristics associated with it:

  • Eustress helps motivate us and focus our energy towards positive things.
  • It is very short term in nature
  • It makes us feel excited and happy
  • It goes a long way in helping improving performance.

Distress Characteristics

In contrast, Distress, or negative stress, has the following characteristics:

  • It creates anxiety or makes us feel concerned.
  • It can be both short term and long term
  • It makes us feel that situations are beyond our capabilities
  • Makes us feel unhappy which impedes performance.
  • It could lead to many physical, mental and emotional problems.

While we are now in position to understand the characteristics of Eustress and Distress it would be difficult to come out with a general list as what are the factors that cause both eustress and distress. However we can have a list of stressors which are perceived as negative and positive by most people at almost all points in time.

Here are some of the negative stressors:

  • Death of spouse or close family member.
  • Divorce petitions.
  • Losing touch with beloved ones.
  • Hospitalization or self or family members
  • Injury, sickness or illness of self or family members.
  • Abuse and neglect
  • Separation from spouse or lover.
  • Money and financial problems and unemployment.
  • Interpersonal problems.
  • Lack of sleep
  • Problems with children at school.
  • Legal problems, etc.

Some example of positive personal stressors could be:

  • Promotion at place of work
  • New job or new marriage
  • Buying a home, car or other such expensive things.
  • Being a mother or father
  • Taking a vacation
  • Moving to a new place.
  • Retiring
  • Learning a new hobby and taking educational classes

Work and employment could also cause some distress which is as follows:

  • Insecurity in job and not being able to get along with teammates and supervisor.
  • Lack of authority and lack of training
  • Not being able to make presentations in front of colleagues
  • Unproductive meetings and hectic travel schedules

Apart from the above internal situations can also caused distress such as:

  • Fear of various types
  • Worrying about future
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Overscheduling
  • Lack of assertiveness
  • Delaying or procrastinating and not being to plan ahead.


It is therefore important to have a better understanding of both distress and eustress to separate the grain from the chaff.

Managing Stress © 2015