You don’t have to answer that question, I already know the answer. You are stressed. Everyone is stressed, all the time. You see, stress is something that is happening to you at all times no matter what, whether you realize it or not. Moms develop stronger arms on the side they carry their child with. Construction workers develop great hand strength. Desk workers’ backs and shoulders round to a more comfortable typing position. CEOs develop the ability to handle situations that would make others crumble. Not the kinds of stress you were thinking of? All are examples of adaptations to stress. The other side of the equation that is always happening is adaptation. You are always adapting to the stresses placed upon you to resolve that stress.
Something that a lot of people don’t know is that there are 2 types of stress: eustress & distress. Here is how they are commonly defined:
Eustress: Good Stress
Distress: Bad Stress
I don’t like this definition. Good & bad are subjective terms, and we can’t measure “good” and “bad”. Our friend Tony Blauer says “the clarity with which we define our terms determines their usefulness”, and I think that we have a more useful definition.
Eustress: Resolved Stress
Distress: Unresolved Stress
These definitions tell us something. Eustress is stress that our body is able to resolve and adapt to, distress is stress we are unable to resolve.
Imagine it in the context of your job. Would you rather be saddled with a problem that is completely outside of you & your team’s budget, capabalities & manpower OR would you rather be given a problem that may be challenging but that resolving is completely within your capacity? The former is distress, the latter is eustress.
What does this mean for YOU?
Many people cite working out as a way to reduce or resolve stress. The problem is that the way most people exercise is actually DIStress training. Going to the gym and running 5 miles on the treadmill that you don’t want to run and struggling through it is not a stress your body can easily resolve, it’s outside your limit and is DIStressful to you. One of the major differences in how we train people is that we seek to maximize EUstress by working within their limits. In life one of your goals should be the maximum amount of EUstress, and the minimum amount of DIStress.
TRY THIS OUT: next time you go to your gym, make your workout as EASY as possible. Stop before it gets hard and move on to something else. You may think I’m crazy now, but you will thank me later when you make MORE progress and feel much better.
Let me know how it goes.