Does Stress Motivate or Paralyze You?

Stress Free Zone Just Ahead Illustration Sign

I am not stress free. I am working to understand those situations that cause my stress level to increase to a point where it is detrimental to me. Hans Selye studied the physiological response of the body to stress. He determined that the body reacts the same to all stressors the same. The stress one experiences due to being accepted to college, starting a new job or getting married leads to the same physical response one experiences when being terminated from a job or separating from their spouse.

Stress can be a positive factor in our lives. Positive stress is called eustress. Eustress is the physiological response we experience when we experience a positive event in our lives. Distress is the physiological response we experience when we experience a negative event in our lives.

Eustress is motivating. Distress causes struggle. Eustress provides excitement and causes you to take action. Distress depresses and makes it harder to take action. Knowing the difference will help you to manage the response you feel when confronted by stress. Eustress and distress are action oriented forms of stress.

There are also two other stress related conditions that cause activity paralysis. Under-stress refers to the condition of boredom, hopelessness and being physically immobile. Over-stress results when we push ourselves over the limit and a breakdown occurs. Both of these conditions result in inaction. A person is emotionally and physically unable to perform due to the extreme lack of motivation of under-stress or the extreme overwhelm of over-stress.

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