Eustress vs Distress: Know More About It By Getting a Degree In Psychology

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Stress is subdivided into two different types: eustress and distress, expressing a “positive stress” and a “negative stress”. Get more information about these and the universities where you can get a degree in Psychology in this article.

Stress has been historically perceived as something dissatisfactory, as a feature that can appear in daily life, stemming from a situation that prepares people to fight or flight. Thus, impacting individuals' or groups’ health and well-being negatively.  

Nevertheless, the Austro-Hungarian doctor and physiologist and “father of stress”, Hans Selye, claims that stress does not necessarily have to be considered a negative factor. Because of that, he envisaged positive stress, which he called “eustress”, and negative stress, called “distress”. 

Concerning that, from an evolutionary point of view, stress has been maintained as a component that belongs to human beings, an adaptive human condition; thus, it symbolizes a positive factor. By getting a degree in Psychology, you will be able to acquire more information about what stress is, how to avoid it, which are the symptoms, the subdivisions of stress, and many other mental issues. If you are interested in stress, eustress, and distress, keep on reading this article, hereafter, we will delve into these terms. 

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Stress: What is It? 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), stress is perceived as “the group of physiological reactions that prepares the body to action.” This means that, from a generalised perspective, it refers to a response mechanism created by an individual in front of a “threatening” scenario. 

This mechanism arises to help the body, allowing it to react and adjust itself to changes. The symptoms that arise in the body show that the resources the body has to handle the situation are limited. Additionally, the body conveys a physiological response, since it is acted out at an organic level. For example, the heart rate boosts, blood pressure increases, digestion is suppressed, and blood sugar increases. 

This means that a certain amount of stress is needed to grow as individuals, evolve, and have past experiences as learning experiences that will help us in similar situations in the future. 

​Eustress: What is It? 

This concept refers to the positive reaction and the adaptation of situations perceived as dangerous. Thus, it is considered to be “positive stress”. Eustress encourages people to continue with the activities they are performing, refining the tasks. That is to say, it gives people the physical, emotional, and psychological tension to promote efficiency and productivity. 

The symptoms of eustress appear for a short period of time, bringing people joy, energy, and motivation. Besides, it boosts efficiency by enhancing attention to the difficulties that have to be solved. 

You may be wondering, where does eustress appear? It can be manifested at the moment of sitting for an exam, when preparing yourself to perform a new activity; for example, playing an instrument, or when you take a new job. 

These situations take people out of their comfort zone, driving them to perform actions that, although they are not dangerous, they are warning.  

Check out Best Universities to Study an Online Bachelor's Degree in Psychology in Australia

Distress: What is It? 

Distress, also known as “negative stress”, is associated with cortisol. This type of stress appears when there is a physiological and psychological mismatch facing an internal or external threat. This means distress is what we usually call “stress”. 

Thus, this type of stress is bad for the individuals’ well-being and generates symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, shock, headaches, chest pain, heart rate increase, insomnia, lack of attention - concentration, irritability, and negative thoughts, among others.

The previously mentioned symptoms can appear in the long-term, hampering people to handle a bad scenario, and increasing negative feelings that reduce efficiency. What is more, in external situations, they can provoke symptoms associated with anxiety or depression. 

If you find this topic interesting and you want to get more knowledge on human behaviour and the processes that occur in the individual’s minds, and also those topics that make feelings management easier, you should get a degree in Psychology. 

Where can I Study? 

If you would like to get more information about a degree in Psychology, fill in the form on this site and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible to answer any questions you may have. 

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