Not all stress is bad for you, in fact we all tend to perform better when we are under a short stress burst, where we feel we have control and there is an end in sight. However, prolonged stress especially when the sufferers feels or believes they have no control tends to become a vicious cycle that feeds itself, progressively increasing perceived stress.
Our body always works towards psychological calm or homeostasis, yet also requires physiological arousal to ensure optimum functioning, especially the heart and muscles. Stress can be divided into three categories, eustress, neustress and distress.
Eustress is a positive form of stress, usually arises in any situation which a person finds motivating or inspiring, examples could be meeting a role model, or someone famous or falling in love ! Eustress situations are normally enjoyable and not harmful psychologically or physiologically.
Neustress is neutral and has no consequential effect, its neither considered good nor bad. News of an earthquake in Chile or Haiti may fall into this category. Although the events themselves are stressful, its impact on an individual removed from the area tends to be neutral.
Distress is the most common type of stress, having negative implications. Although eustress and distress can both be equally taxing on the body, and are cumulative in nature, dependant on the person’s methods of coping or adapting to a change causing it, the body itself cannot physically discern between distress or eustress.
Distress is normally abbreviated as stress. Distress can be further divided into acute stress and chronic stress. Acute stress appears and disappears over a short period of time and can be intense, while chronic stress may not appear to be intense but lingers for a much longer period of time.
Meditation is the most effective method to deal with any type of stress, helping develop a healthy and creative psychology. In a period where depression and other mental illnesses are fast becoming a common factor affecting young and old, meditation offers a non-toxic and effective solution.
Mindfulness (by Dav Panesar)
Symran (by Dav Panesar)