Eustress Vs Distress: What’s the Difference?

Stress is an inevitable part of life. It can come from various sources – work, relationships, health, finances, and many more. While it is generally perceived as something negative, not all stress is bad. In fact, there are two types of stress: eustress and distress.

What is Eustress?

Eustress, also known as positive stress, is a type of stress that is considered beneficial for our well-being. It is defined as the type of stress that motivates us, challenges us, and helps us achieve our goals. It is the “good” stress that can enhance our performance and increase our sense of accomplishment.

Eustress is typically short-term and manageable. It can come from various sources such as exercise, taking on a new challenge or responsibility, and even planning a vacation. It is the kind of stress that gets our heart pumping and our mind focused, making us feel alive and energized.

What is Distress?

Distress, on the other hand, is the type of stress that we are all familiar with. It is the negative stress that can be harmful to our health and well-being. It is the kind of stress that we often think of when we hear the word “stress.”

Distress can come from various sources such as work overload, financial worries, relationship problems, and health issues. Unlike eustress, distress is long-term and overwhelming. It can lead to a range of physical and mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and even heart disease.

The Effects of Eustress and Distress

While eustress and distress are two sides of the same coin, they have different effects on our body and mind. Eustress can improve our cognitive function, boost our immune system, and enhance our overall well-being. It can also help us develop resilience and coping skills, which can be useful when dealing with future stressors.

On the other hand, distress can have a detrimental effect on both our physical and mental health. It can lead to a range of health problems such as hypertension, digestive issues, and compromised immune function. Distress can also affect our mood, concentration, and ability to function effectively, which can result in a decreased quality of life.

The Importance of Managing Stress

Given the potential harmful effects of stress, it is essential to manage it effectively. Whether it is eustress or distress, stress can be managed through various strategies such as:

Regular Exercise

Exercise is an effective stress reliever that can help reduce the levels of stress hormones in the body. It can also improve mood, increase energy levels, and promote better sleep.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can help reduce stress levels and promote a sense of calm and relaxation.

Social Support

Having a strong support system can help reduce stress levels by providing emotional support, practical assistance, and a sense of belonging.

Healthy Lifestyle

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help reduce stress levels by improving overall physical and mental health. This includes eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and avoiding unhealthy habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.


Eustress and distress are two types of stress that we encounter throughout our lives. While eustress can be beneficial for our well-being, distress can have harmful effects on our physical and mental health. It is important to manage stress effectively through various strategies such as regular exercise, relaxation techniques, social support, and a healthy lifestyle. By doing so, we can reduce the negative effects of stress and improve our quality of life.


What is eustress?

Eustress is a type of stress that is positive and beneficial. It is the stress that motivates us to take action, improve our skills, and achieve our goals. Eustress is often associated with a feeling of excitement, and it can help us to perform better under pressure.

What is distress?

Distress is a type of stress that is negative and harmful. It is the stress that is caused by negative experiences or events such as job loss, divorce, or illness. Distress can have a negative impact on our physical and mental health, and it can also affect our relationships and employment.

What is the difference between eustress and distress?

The main difference between eustress and distress is their effects on our well-being. Eustress is positive and beneficial, while distress is negative and harmful. Eustress can help us to achieve our goals and improve our skills, while distress can lead to physical and mental health problems. Eustress is often short-term and can lead to a feeling of excitement, while distress is often chronic and can lead to depression and anxiety.


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2. Fritz, C., & Sonnentag, S. (2006). Recovery, Well-Being, and Performance-Related Outcomes: The Role of Workload and Vacation Experiences. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(4), 936–945.

3. Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, Appraisal, and Coping. Springer Publishing Company.