In popular parlance, it’s common to think of stress as a bad thing. This emotion is usually associated with anxiety, discomfort, and dysfunction, a synonym for bad emotion.
The truth is, stress isn’t that bad. In fact, if we take an evolutionary perspective, there must be a reason why this emotion has stuck with our species. It has to have an adaptive factor, which is a good thing.
For this reason, there are those who prefer to talk about stress and distraction rather than dry stress and this is precisely what we will talk about below. Here we will see what they are the main differences between stress, distress and stress, highlighting the definitions of these three terms.
The differences between stress, distress and stress (explained)
In our everyday language, we often use the word “stress” to give it a negative meaning. This led to believe that all stress is bad which is not entirely true. Stress is an emotion like any other, and the fact that we humans show it is because, throughout the evolutionary history of our species, it has been helpful to manifest this response. to certain stimuli. Stress is simply the body’s response to changes that create very demanding demands.
We can differentiate between different types of stress, something raised by Richard S. Lazarus (1922-2002) who, drawing on the work of Hans Selye (1907-1982) who suggested that there are differences between positive stress, called stress, and negative stress, called distress or anguish in terms more flat.
As a human emotion, stress will be felt all over the world at some point in your life. I on what occasions. However, you have to differentiate between eustres and distress, one being more adaptive and useful than the other.
We will see what are the main differences between stress, distress and stress, although we have already argued that the first two are in the last.
What is stress?
When we talk about stress, we are referring to the response that our body establishes when faced with a situation that we perceive as dangerous or demanding. This response occurs both physically and psychologically, manifesting itself in the form of physiological changes, as a result of dealing with a stressor that is nothing more than a change or stimulus believed to affect our physical or mental integrity.
Stress has been necessary throughout the history of evolution and it is because of it that we have survived. We can understand this if we think of the human being for what he is, an animal, and thousands of years ago he was faced with the threats of nature as a predator. In such a situation, there were two answers to being able to survive: to fight or to run away.
We say that stress is a physiological response, as well as a psychological one, as it also manifests itself on an organic level. Stress manifests organically as physiological activation, which actually helps us engage in one of the two behaviors we mentioned. When we feel stressed, our heart speeds up, blood pressure rises, digestion is inhibited, and blood sugar rises. All of these physiological changes are aimed at making the evasion and attack as effective as possible, providing energy to the muscles.
If the possibility of being in a situation where you have to fight or flee cannot be ruled out, today it is quite complicated. However, we still feel stressed, in large numbers it must be said, even though we no longer face the same threats as our prehistoric ancestors. Most of the stress that modern Homo sapiens feels comes from his own mind, resulting from psychological tensions and ruminations produced by oversized threats.
So when we perceive a threat, such as a hard exam, work obligations, or having to break up with a partner, we start to feel stressed. These are not things that will harm us physically, but in our minds they are perceived as as dangerous as the cannibalistic animals that our prehistoric ancestors had to face.
What is stress?
Eustress is a relatively new concept that has been described as synonymous with positive, helpful, and motivating stress.. This type of stress is what motivates us to keep working, improve our performance, and achieve our goals and challenges. It is physical, psychological and emotional stress yet productive and efficient that brings us closer to success. Like any other type of stress, it activates the body and the mind, preparing the resources to deal with whatever needs to be overcome. Here, the energy generated to face the obstacle or the task to be overcome is proportional to what the situation demands.
Whether a person experiences positive or negative stress will depend on several factors, but among the main ones is their perception of the event and the stressor itself.
Usually When a person is confident in their ability to cope with a particular stressful event, they are more likely to experience positive stress.. This will naturally cause you some tension, but that person will know that sooner or later the situation will be overcome, allowing them to think calmly about what they are doing and not get overwhelmed by what is necessary.
The ways to create eustres are:
- Try something new.
- Exercise and participate in group sports.
- Get ready to learn something new, like a language or to play an instrument.
- Set ambitious but realistic goals for yourself.
- Take on a new responsibility at work and see it as manageable.
- Organize a social event yourself.
What we can see from stress is that stress, in doses provided against the stimulus to cope and momentarily, is beneficial.. Physiological and psychological activation, when used to overcome obstacles and achieve goals, is good for our life. However, if the voltage lasts too long and begins to rise, this activation will be distracted. This negative stress occurs when the situation becomes too overwhelming or other stressors arise at the same time.
What is distress?
Distress is known or negative stress, and that’s what most people associate with feeling stressed. This is the type of response that tends to make people overwhelmed, anxious, and suffer from physical and psychological symptoms such as irritability, sleeplessness, lack of focus and attention, headaches, pain. stomach ache, dry mouth …
Distraction, when frequent, intense, and chronic, takes a toll on our mind and body. This is why the presentation of negative stress is linked to a number of physical illnesses and psychological disorders, in addition to being an obstacle to a full and functional life.
Highly stressed people find it difficult to make ends meet at work, school, and in social relationships such as friends, family and partner., besides which it is possible to arrive at the point not to enjoy the life nor to take away the taste to him to sympathies that before yes were pleasant.
The main difference between stress and distress relates to the stressors that cause the stress response and how the person evaluates them. Distress, which some also refer to as distress, occurs when the person perceives stressors as out of control or lacks the capacity to resolve or change them.
When you feel distracted, it’s common to feel overwhelmed and helpless, and as no viable solution has yet been found, those who suffer from it are again worried and show other unproductive responses.
The most common sources of distress are:
- Problems economic
- Dissatisfaction at work
- Political situation
- Concern for the future of the economy
- Episodes of violence, crimes, attacks …
- Health concern
- Diagnosis of a disease or mental disorder
- Conflicts in social relations
- Bad eating habits
Signs of positive and negative stress
Now that we have looked at the definitions between stress, stress and distress, we can highlight their main differences. What we can extract is that eustres and distress are two forms of stress, which, if understood in a neutral sense, refer to tension and physiological and psychological activation to meet a certain demand from the environment, either by carrying out combat behavior or evasion behavior.
We can discern various signs between positive or eustral stress and negative stress the distraction :
- Signs of stress or positive stress.
- Short term duration.
- It produces energy and increases our motivation.
- Sense of adaptation.
- It creates excitement and attention to the issues at hand.
- This increases our productivity and performance.
Signs of distress or negative stress:
- Long term duration.
- Feelings of anxiety and worry.
- It exceeds the capacity to cope.
- It generates unpleasant sensations.
- Decreased productivity and performance.
- It helps to develop physical and mental problems.
The impact of distraction
As we saw in the previous section, distraction can cause psychological and physical disturbances. Negative stress and high doses often have a negative impact on the mood, health and functioning of those who suffer from it..
When this stress is chronic or occurs often, it leaves traces organically. This emotion affects our physiology, increases cortisol levels, and can cause a number of physical and psychological problems, such as the following:
- Sleep disorders: insomnia, hypersomnia …
- Pain or physical discomfort: headaches, stomach aches, tickling …
- Changes in appetite
- Increased heart rate, breathing and blood pressure.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Chronic fatigue.
- Having fast-paced or repetitive intrusive thoughts.
- Irritability and less tolerance for frustration.
- Anxiety and depression.
- Chronic consumption of sedatives and anxiolytics.
- Increased risk of substance use disorders.
- Increased risk of chronic disease.
- Heart problems.
- Increased mortality.
Conclusion and final reflection
As we can see, stress in itself is not bad. It is an emotion that has been present in our species throughout its evolutionary history and has helped it survive and adapt. Without stress, it would be very difficult for our species to survive, because it is this emotion that awakens our fight or flight behavior in the face of threats so clearly detrimental to our physical integrity as, for example, the attack of a Lion. .
Stress is subdivided into two types: positive, which is stress, and negative, which is distress. Eustress is that emotional tension that motivates us to face a particular obstacle or event which, while not threatening us vitally, requires a certain energy and activation to overcome it. Distraction, on the other hand, is a disproportionate emotional stress which causes us to feel great discomfort and not respond correctly to a stimulus that is not as dangerous as we perceive it to be.
Everyone will experience stress throughout life, both in one type and in the other. The complete absence of one and the complete presence of the other are problematic, because without stress you cannot actively respond to exceeding vital goals and with too much distraction we risk suffering psychological and physical problems due to it. to “excessive tension”. Either way, you’ll need to see a psychologist to learn the tools you need to deal with stress and respond appropriately to life’s issues.