Positive: The meaning of Eustress

You have been planning for months.

You stayed up the night before going over every detail.

You were too nervous to eat breakfast.

You were ready, confident, and a little nauseous.

You walked into the conference room and looked over a sea of eyes staring directly at you.

You took a deep breath and began the presentation, the one that could change your life forever.

You semi black out from a combination of fear and excitement when before you know it…

You NAIL it.


You walked out of the conference room, goosebumps cover your back, and you feel a state of euphoria flow over your body. Everything you have been working so hard for had been accomplished. You feel a state of relief; you are in a state of eustress.


Eustress or “positive stress” is stress that is deemed healthful or giving one the feeling of fulfillment. Distress or “negative stress” is a state of mental or emotional strain resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances which can cause extreme physical and psychological effects. Whether positive or negative these are both forms of stress. How you choose to respond to them is what makes all the difference.


I know for me stress is a motivator. I thrive from challenges, deadlines, and goals. I have a brain that has hundreds of thoughts per minute. In the past, I have tried to silence this part of my personality rather than embracing it. However, that in and of itself was causing even more distress. Instead, I have learned to cultivate these challenges, deadlines, and goals to look them square in the eye and use them as a motivator. I am here to help you work to do the same.


Here are a few small ways I have learned to revert distress into eustress:


1) Acknowledgment

Without always being aware, we may tend to seek out forms of stress. This keeps us on our toes and our game. The next time stress presents itself, try look for the signs. Are you too quick to react to those around you? Are you preparing to go into a state of “fight or flight?” Are you having a difficult time focusing on the task at hand? Do you immediately want a glass of wine to try and relax your brain?


2) Acceptance

Once you have acknowledged you are in a state of distress, you then need to accept this. Accepting this allows you to categorize and revert this feeling to motivation rather than giving energy to negative emotion. Energy will fuel the fire on whichever path you choose.


3) Excitement

After you have accepted the feeling, focus on the positive outcome of the scenario. We have all heard the phrase “whatever you put into the universe, you get back.” – time to put it to action.


“Do I have an almost unachievable sales goal?”

Yes, but the success and reward will be fantastic!


“Is my team relying on me?”

Yes, but you will never let your team down. They know you will always do right by them and you will not fail, failure isn’t an option. You are in this position because they trust you and you will continue to prove this.


“I don’t have the answer to this.”

Simple! Reach out to your network of brilliant people. I truly believe we all want to help others and share our knowledge. We love to learn from each person, and this gives us the opportunity!


4) Accomplishment

Once you are in a state of positive stress and motivation, allow your brain to do its job. To clear out all the wrong answers and to point you to the right. Turn off all distractions, focus your attention, and get down to business. Try your best not to procrastinate and go from acknowledgment to excitement to give yourself the opportunity to sleep on your work and revisit in the morning. This will allow a broader scope of work and to not submit anything unfinished due to poor time management. (More to come on time management techniques).


5) Lesson Learned

Each task or stressor is an experience. Take each task, small or large and turn it into a lesson learned.


6) Gratitude

Take time to thank those around you who helped you to navigate your path or simply understand what you need without having to ask. Give thanks to yourself for the opportunity to of shed a positive light and to of allowed for you to work within a state of eustress rather than distress. Write down your experience and file it away for future reminders and teachings.


Just reading this may have caused some people to feel distressed. The beauty of life is how different we all are. Remember you choose how you react to stressors. You are in control of your thoughts, and you have the chance to turn stress into a positive, healthy and growth opportunity.