One of the first things I remember learning in Psychology 101 is that there are two different types of stress: distress and eustress.
Distress, or negative stress, is categorized by mental or physical suffering and caused by situations that have a negative effect on us like divorce, illness, or money problems. Thoughts and behaviors like worrying, over-scheduling, and fear can also lead to distress.
Eustress, on the other hand, is defined as “It’s essentially good stress that promotes positive emotions and wellbeing. Having a baby, getting a promotion, planning a vacation, or even a challenging physical workout are all examples of situations that cause eustress.
Obviously, the goal is to minimize distress and increase eustress. But that can be really hard, especially when you’re in the throes of multiple major life events — say, moving your family half-way across the country, away from your friends, while your husband looks for a job.
It’s no wonder that Jordan and I frequently feel overwhelmed and agitated. Our primary method of relieving stress is to zone out in front of the TV at night. With all the television we watch, you’d think we’d be totally relaxed — except it turns out that watching TV to relieve stress sometimes just makes things worse.
So I’ve been thinking about other types of relaxation techniques and ways to relieve stress. Here are a few I plan to try:
Joy talks about the success she’s had with self-hypnosis over on her blog, Frock Files. Hypnosis sounds very similar to meditation, which I’ve been meaning to learn how to do for some time now. I’ve download the Calm app but haven’t tried the free guided meditation program yet. The app offers nature sounds and sometimes I’ll listen to rain falling on leaves as I lay in bed, though it usually puts me to sleep. I wonder, does that defeat the purpose?
I recently learned about RESCUE, a line of homeopathic stress relief products designed to help restore your inner calm and regain control during stressful situations. The RESCUE Remedy is a formulation of five flower essences developed by a doctor more than 80 years ago. I’m actually sucking on a black currant-flavored RESCUE pastille as I type (it tastes good!), and I’m not feeling as jittery as I normally do when trying to meet a deadline.
I’m curious to try RESCUE Sleep Liquid Melts, as I frequently feel the most stressed as I’m trying to fall asleep. Thinking about my to-do list and all the things I still need to accomplish can keep me awake for an hour after I’ve climbed in bed.
Spending time outdoors was nearly impossible this cold, snowy winter, but now that we’re finally seeing signs of spring, I’m eager to start taking walks around the neighborhood. (I’m sure the dog would love to join me!) Walking, a type of rhythmic exercise, can be a mindfulness relaxation technique when you focus on your movement and your breath.
Plus, fresh air and a little Vitamin D is always helpful.
I spend a lot of time online, both on my computer and my iPhone. When I’m not writing, I’m (obsessively) checking social media and, inevitably, falling down the Internet rabbit hole. Unfortunately, social media networks — and Facebook, in particular — have been proven to increase our anxiety.
While I can’t (and don’t really want to) cut out Twitter, Instagram, and blogs completely, I’d like to routinely unplug from technology and use that time for a little self-care. Perhaps walking the dog while listening to a guided meditation podcast and chewing a RESCUE pastille?
I’d love to know how you manage the stress in your life, whether you’re dealing with distress or eustress. Let’s talk about stress relief and relaxation techniques in the comments below!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.