Stress – is it distress or eustress?

Have you ever thought stress could be good for you?

We generally think of stress as that extra tension on us which causes us to worry or become anxious about a situation. This is distress.

There is another form of stress, eustress, and it is a ‘good’ stress. It is the sort of raised levels of tension you feel before a winner is announced, or when you receive a job promotion, or when the birth of a baby elevates our tension levels.

The dis- and the eu- refer to the stressor, not its impact on you.

Follow this link for a more detailed discussion of these two types of stress.

When we face a challenge beyond what we are comfortable with, it becomes a stress. What we do about the stress is what makes the difference. I attended a rural principal’s conference some time back. There was not too much interest in the gifted education stand I was manning. A very wise man, who had spent a bit of time discussing how to help a gifted child from his school came up to me at the end and commented –

“You know – you are quite scary!” he said.

Wow! I know my voice was rather rugged from all the talk on top of a virus! But, I didn’t see myself as being particularly scary!

“Don’t take it personally”, he continued. “It’s not about you, really. It’s the subject you are representing. We all know there are things we are not doing in our schools due to lack of time, and gifted provision is often one of them. People would rather avoid speaking to you, than face up to their inability to meet the challenge of the needs of these children.”

When you are stressed, do you avoid what you know you should do – in the hope that it will just go away? Or do you meet the challenge head on and try to eliminate one more stress on your life in a positive way?

Food for thought?

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About Debbie Smith

New Zealand Educator interested in online education, giftedness, and other special needs in education.
This entry was posted in Gifted and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Stress – is it distress or eustress?

  1. Lisa says:

    Debbie, this comment from the man who talked to you really struck me:

    “People would rather avoid speaking to you, than face up to their inability to meet the challenge of the needs of these children.”

    There is a lot of wisdom there. I think that many gifted adults also fear having to face their own needs that haven’t been or aren’t met, so they prefer to pretend the issue doesn’t exist.

    It’s hard to imagine from your photo that you would be that scary, lol! Thanks for such a candid and intriguing post.

    ~ Lisa

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