Is There a "Good" Kind of Stress?

how to manage stress

Is There a “Good” Kind of Stress?

Stress: we all know what it feels like. In fact, most of us experience stress throughout our daily lives. When we think of stress, most of us consider it to be a bad thing. I mean, who wants to be stressed? However, there are two primary types of stress, one negative and often damaging, and the other is actually beneficial! Keep reading to learn more.

Distress versus Eustress

The two primary types of stress are distress and eustress.


This is the kind of stress most of us think about. This kind of stress is in relation to something negative happening. Think the financial stress that comes along with losing a job or the stress experienced around an injury or illness. While this stress serves a purpose, it can be damaging.

Some side effects of distress include:

  • Changes in sleep

  • Changes in appetite

  • Irritability

  • Decreased productivity

  • Decreased mental health

  • Decreased physical health

So...not so great. Now let’s look at eustress.


This is still a form of stress, but one that revolves around something positive. Think about time spent planning a wedding, preparing for a huge sports game, beginning a new job, or buying a home. These are all events that certainly cause a bit of stress, but the stress is directed around a positive event or experience.

Some outcomes of eustress include:

  • Greater productivity

  • Greater motivation

  • Improved performance

  • Feels exciting (you feel the excited jitters)

The Takeaway

  • There is a big difference between distress and eustress. While distress is destructive and potentially harmful, eustress gets us going and helps us to do our best.

  • Love it or hate it, stress is a part of our everyday lives. No human goes without experiencing at least some kind of stress within their lives.

  • Stress isn’t all bad! Stress is actually helpful in some cases, and even necessary for our survival (more on this in a future blog).

  • If distress seems to be taking a hold or if you are having trouble managing the stress in your life, click the link below to get connected to our practice for additional support.

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