September, although not technically the end of the calendar year, marks the end of summer family vacations, a new season, the start of the new school year, Jewish New Year, hockey season, fall TV programming, new EAP services, and the final quarter for business results. It seems that psychologically, September is the true new beginning and with it comes a lot of change.
When we discuss dealing with change, the conversation inevitably turns to conversations about stress. Did you know there is good and bad stress? Eustress (pronounced You-Stress) is a term coined by endocrinologist Hans Selye and literally means “good stress”.
It is important to have eustress in your life. Eustress motivates and energizes you to work on a task that may require some effort and even prove challenging but results in huge satisfaction.
Everyone needs a little bit of stress in their life in order to continue to be happy, motivated, challenged and productive. Potential indicators of eustress may include responding to a stressor with a sense of meaning, hope, or vigor. Eustress has also been positively correlated with life satisfaction and well-being. It is when this stress is no longer tolerable and/or manageable that distress comes in.
Bad stress, or distress, is when the good stress becomes too much to bear or cope with. Tension builds, and there is no longer any fun in the challenge, and often no relief or end in sight. This is the kind of stress most of us are familiar with and this is the kind of stress that leads to poor decision-making.
One way to cope with change is not to expect that you can eliminate it; but rather, to manage the symptoms of stress. I’d like to share with you a few good tips to help you manage your stress and become more stress-resistant. These tips take time and commitment; so keep trying to integrate them into your life for a more balanced, healthy lifestyle.
- Stress is perception. What is stressful for you may not be stressful for me. It is how we perceive our situation that causes our stress. Change your perception slightly, and your level of stress lessens.
- Be decisive. Make your own path. There really are no right or wrongs.
- Avoid being a perfectionist. Accept that we all make mistakes and these often serve as the best lessons in life.
- Set priorities for yourself. If you can gain control over your situation, that often can help reduce stress, so decide what really has to get done and what is not a life and death situation. See what happens to your stress when you simply let things slide (Phew!).
- Praise yourself. We often forget to look at ourselves and the things we’ve accomplished. Don’t forget to take a look at yourself and appreciate what you’ve been able to do.
How do you handle change? Have you felt eustress before and if so, do you think you would be as successful without it? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.