Did you know there is good and bad stress? Good stress or, eustress, is a mild kind of stress that helps motivate us to complete given tasks and goals. This “good” stress will excite, invigorate, and motivate you. There is a sense of accomplishment and an ability to relax after the task has been completed. This eustress is actually good for the body. The small amount of good stress that pushes you to finish that essay and the period of relaxation and accomplishment felt afterward are good.
So what does it mean to have bad stress? Bad stress, also known as distress, is the type of stress can be debilitating. It is when you are feeling so overwhelmed that your body does not have time to feel accomplished, invigorated, or excited. It is important to know the signs of distress in order to try to decide how to best cope as an individual.
Possible Signs of Distress
Emotional– Depression (general unhappiness), low self-esteem, lonely, worthless, overwhelmed, out of control, frequent crying spells, moodiness, apathy, irritable, short tempered, agitated, inability to relax.
Cognitive– inability to concentrate, seeing only the negative, anxious or “racing” thoughts, difficulty with decision-making, trouble learning new information, constant worrying, nightmares, guilt, poor judgment, forgetfulness, disorganized.
Physical– nervousness, shaking, weakness, fatigue, twitching, aches, pains, diarrhea or constipation, nausea, dizziness, light-headed, hair loss, acne, rashes, numbness, hot/cold waves, low energy, headaches, insomnia, heartburn, panic attacks, difficulty breathing, clenched jaw and grinding teeth, cold sweaty hands/feet, dry mouth, weight gain/loss without diet change.
Behavioral– changes in appetite, sleeping too much or too little, social withdrawal, aggression, low interest in appearance, difficulty communicating, obsessive compulsive thoughts or behaviors, nervous habits (nail biting, pacing, fidgeting), stuttering, procrastinating, neglecting responsibilities, using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax, lies/excuses to cover up poor work, increased number of minor accidents, impulsivity.
If any of this sounds like you or someone you know here are some helpful ways to help de-stress starting now.
- Prepare ahead of time
- Believe in yourself
- Stop negative self talk
- Call a friend
- Drink more water and less caffeine or alcohol
- Learn to say “No” to overcommitting
- Try something new
- Go outside
- Meet your needs
- Honor your feelings
- Do things in moderation
Ultimately, we want to help you learn how to manage your stress. We have our Stress Less Event on December 8th from 11am-1pm at the Kellogg Plaza to help our students de-stress. There will be food, activities, puppies to pet, and music! Also, our wonderful on campus counselors are here at Student Health and Counseling Services to listen and help you cope with stress. Call or stop by to make an appointment (760) 750-4915. You are not alone.
Written By: Charity Marino (Alumni 2014) Graduate Intern