Stress happens. It’s a natural part of our everyday lives, and the right kind of stress can even be beneficial to your health. What’s that? You didn’t know there was a useful form of stress? Well, it’s true. In fact, there are three different types of stress, and only one of them is inherently bad for you.
First there is acute stress, which is a natural reaction within the autonomic nervous system. It’s geared for survival and protects us from danger. It’s generally known as the fight-or-flight response, and it’s your body’s natural reaction to an immediate threat. Under normal circumstances, once the threat is gone, the body settles back into its normal routine. No harm, no foul.
But then there’s chronic stress, which is a different animal altogether. This is the stress that builds up day in and day out. It’s the daily grind of long commutes, money woes, an overbearing boss, or difficult co-workers. This is the type of stress that can significantly affect both your mind and body.
Common signs of chronic stress include irritability and anger, anxiety, depression, headaches, poor sleep, and a sluggish memory. Unrelenting chronic stress can undermine your digestive, circulatory, muscular, and immune systems, making you more susceptible to everything from the common cold to cancer. Chronic stress can also do some serious long-lasting damage to your brain by creating free radicals that kill brain cells and cause inflammation.
Chronic stress shouldn’t be taken lightly. It has far-reaching effects on you both physically and mentally. Fortunately, there is another form of stress that can help reverse the effects of chronic stress and provide you a happier, more productive life.
This good kind of stress can be a powerful motivator in your life. It’s called eustress, and it can help you achieve your goals, enhance your performance in work or sports, and provide you a general sense of happiness and wellbeing.
Consider competitive sports as an example. The more excited the athlete gets about performing on the field or court, the better he or she does. The intense pressure competitive athletes are under actually galvanizes them into peak performance in a way the rest of us can hardly fathom.
But, it’s our perception of a stressor that determines which kind of stress we experience. Take a non-competitive athlete and put him or her in the same high-stakes situation and you’ll quickly see eustress turn to distress!
The trick to using eustress to your advantage lies in your perception of the task at hand. If you have an upcoming high-stakes game, exam, or a project with an impending deadline and you respond with negative emotions, you have set the stage for procrastination, poor performance, and distress. Conversely, if you choose to get excited about meeting the challenge, or focus on the accolades you’ll get for your accomplishment, you will engage the power of eustress—triggering your brain and endocrine system into a state of peak performance.
It’s all in your focus
If you want to develop a eustress habit, the first step is to shift your focus and get re-centered. In order to succeed at anything, you must first see yourself succeeding. Given that visualization involves seeing what you want with the added benefit of repetition, it’s the perfect tool for changing your perceptual filters, especially when it’s done through technology-enhanced meditation such as BrainTap provides. There’s simply no better way to manage your perceptual filters and use eustress to your greatest advantage.
Once you’ve got your 15-Day FREE Trial set up, we recommend the Better Life Me or Life Mastery series for developing the eustress habit. Both series are found in the Lifestyle section. You can develop the habit of eustress, but you have to practice. There’s simply no easier, more comfortable way to form a positive, new habit than BrainTap! Get Your 15-Day FREE Trial Now!