Stress versus Distress
Stress is your physical, emotional, and mental response to change, whether it’s good or bad. Stress stems from the body’s flight-or-fight response, and it can help us perform well in difficult situations. However, constant stress may lead to the development of distress, leaving you feeling burned out, tired, irritable, or overwhelmed. Imagined change—what we often call “worrying”—may be as stressful as real change. In fact, anything that causes change in routine or change in health is stressful.
There are several types of stress:
Survival stress occurs when our health or survival feels threatened, leading to the flight-or-fight reaction. Adrenaline is released in the body to prepare it to run or fight, even when the event causing the stress is not a matter of life or death.
Internally generated stress occurs when we feel anxious or concerned about events in our lives, when we feel under pressure, or when we are having problems in a relationship.
Environmental stress is caused by one’s living or working environment. It may be related to living in an unsafe, dirty, or distracting environment, or to having a job that is fast paced, noisy, and hurried.
Fatigue and overwork is stress that builds up over time. This type of stress may be associated with poor time management strategies, or with an attempt to do too much in too little time.
…and there are several techniques that help to manage stress:
- Manage your time effectively.
- Take care of yourself by eating properly, taking regular exercise, and getting an adequate amount of restful sleep.
- Be assertive.
- Change the way you think.
- Relax through mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery.