Varieties of Stress Defined — Talkspace

Revealed on: 29 Aug 2023

Distress vs. Eustress

Stress is a pure response to elevated stress in our lives attributable to a change in our surroundings or a menace. It’s regular, and even wholesome in some instances. The stress response stems from primal survival expertise we as soon as wanted, most frequently expressed by means of the battle or flight response that’s naturally triggered at any time when the mind senses hazard. 

There are a number of completely different kinds of stress, relying in your circumstances and on whether or not it’s good stress vs unhealthy stress. Sure, there’s such a factor nearly as good, constructive stress. It’s often known as “eustress,” and it helps with issues like motivation and focus.

On the flip aspect, “misery” is what most individuals consider when the subject of stress comes up. Misery is the stereotypical anxiousness and fear we affiliate with aggravating occasions. 

Proceed studying to be taught extra about what’s the distinction between eustress and misery, together with what every means and the right way to handle them.

The Two Faces of Stress: Misery and Eustress

It’s unattainable to keep away from stress in your life altogether, however understanding the distinction between eustress and misery and why and once you may be feeling both will assist you be taught to handle stress so it’s not negatively impacting your life. 

What’s misery? Defining destructive stress

When you most likely hear the phrase “stress” nearly each day, more often than not, the phrase that ought to actually be used is misery.

Misery is the destructive type of stress. It’s most frequently uncomfortable, and when not managed appropriately, it may destroy relationships and psychological well-being. Research present that stress can have a destructive impact on the human nervous system. Sadly, misery is a pure and computerized response when sensing a bodily or emotional menace or concern.

“Misery is something that negatively impacts you, whether or not emotionally or bodily. Whereas we will definitely really feel distressed attributable to grief and loss, it is also one thing so simple as a breakup or as impactful as a job loss or medical occasion. Usually, the supply is straightforward to establish, however it may additionally accumulate over time.”

Talkspace therapist Elizabeth Keohan, LCSW-C, LICSW, LCSW 

What are examples of misery?

Misery comes from a stressor response to destructive experiences in life. Frequent sources of misery can embrace:

  • Household stress
  • Divorce
  • Being bullied
  • A relationship breaking apart
  • Battle
  • Lacking deadlines
  • Shedding a partner, member of the family, or buddy
  • Monetary struggles
  • Pure disasters
  • Battle
  • Violence
  • Being assaulted or abused
  • Being sued
  • Extreme or sudden well being issues
  • Job worries

What’s eustress? Defining constructive stress

Eustress, in contrast, is the constructive type of stress that isn’t essentially unhealthy. Stress can come within the type of new alternatives that may open doorways and alter your life. Challenges you possibly can efficiently overcome end in a constructive frame of mind and profit your life.

“Not all stress is unhealthy. At occasions, eustress or productive stress will be encouraging, motivating, and even exhilarating and enjoyable. Generally, when the adrenaline will get ramped up, it may sign pleasure, pleasure, and positivity, like after a curler coaster experience or conducting a well-prepared presentation the place reflection may point out a constructive and satisfying consequence.”

Talkspace therapist Elizabeth Keohan, LCSW-C, LICSW, LCSW

What are examples of eustress?

There are numerous examples of constructive stress we’ll face all through our life. Eustress may end result from experiences like:

  • Beginning a brand new job
  • Getting married
  • Having a child
  • Shopping for your first residence
  • Getting a promotion at work
  • Beginning a enterprise
  • Being rewarded for accomplishments
  • Touring or visiting new locations
  • Making new mates

Misery vs. Eustress: How Do They Differ?

Whereas each are primarily stress, eustress and misery happen for various causes. Any time our stress response is triggered, our mind and physique attempt to react in a method that’ll convey us again to an excellent frame of mind, each bodily and mentally. The only most vital distinction between misery and eustress stems from how we react to one thing. 

As a result of misery is destructive, our response can be hostile. Eustress is a constructive expertise; thus, we sometimes have a extra nice response to it. 

“Misery doesn’t sometimes provide a productive consequence or a sense of accomplishment as with eustress. Sometimes, misery provokes signs of feeling poorly each bodily and emotionally.”  

Talkspace therapist Elizabeth Keohan, LCSW-C, LICSW, LCSW

How misery and eustress have an effect on us otherwise

Our pure response to misery or eustress experiences will broadly range. For instance: 

  • Misery could make you drained and weary, whereas eustress can energize you. 
  • Misery may cause destructive feelings and thought patterns, however eustress can increase temper.
  • Misery usually causes anxiousness, whereas eustress can construct confidence and pleasure.
  • Misery can lead to despair or different psychological well being circumstances, however eustress tends to enhance psychological well-being.
  • Misery will be paralyzing and overwhelming; eustress can energize you to take motion and be productive.

The effective line between misery and eustress

Regardless of apparent variations between misery vs. eustress, the 2 have some similarities. Each kinds of stress can:

  • Launch the hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
  • Pressure us to step exterior the place in our life the place we’re most snug.
  • End in psychological and bodily adjustments.
  • Set off the battle or flight stress response.

Managing Misery and Harnessing Eustress

Whereas there’s no attainable strategy to completely get rid of misery out of your life, there are stress administration strategies you should utilize to reduce the destructive influence it has. Likewise, you possibly can be taught to harness eustress to get as many advantages as attainable.

Methods for decreasing misery

Some ideas for decreasing the destructive consequence of misery embrace:

  • Attempt to view a aggravating state of affairs as one thing with potential for development or one other constructive consequence.
  • Somewhat than see it as a destructive, strive viewing no matter is inflicting your stress as a chance.
  • Change your mindset from taking a look at one thing as aggravating to seeing it as difficult.

Methods for maximizing the advantages of eustress

To maximise the advantages of eustress, you possibly can:

  • Preserve a gratitude journal the place you observe belongings you’re grateful for.
  • Concentrate on positivity.
  • Observe self care, like meditation for stress or understanding, so you possibly can handle stress in more healthy methods.

Embracing the Twin Nature of Stress with Talkspace

You possibly can’t keep away from stress, however you possibly can learn to handle it. Talkspace is a wonderful useful resource in case you need assistance or steering on understanding what’s the distinction between eustress and misery. 

Talkspace is an on-line remedy platform that makes getting assist handy, accessible, and reasonably priced — all from the consolation of your property. With stress remedy, you possibly can learn to handle your stress constructively, so it isn’t hindering you from getting essentially the most out of life. 

Attain out to Talkspace at present to be taught extra about how one can be taught to handle your stress in a constructive and wholesome method.


  1. Yaribeygi H, Panahi Y, Sahraei H, Johnston TP, Sahebkar A. THE IMPACT OF STRESS ON BODY FUNCTION: A REVIEW. EXCLI J. 16:1057-1072. doi:doi: 10.17179/excli2017-480. Accessed June 3, 2023. 

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