Lets get straight to the point. No one wants to be stressed. In fact this website is created for the primary purpose of combating stress and forming a relaxing lifestyle. Despite how no-brainer it seems to be, a nebulous question arises – is living stress-free truly beneficial? Everywhere you go online, you see articles saying “stress is bad,” “stress leads to this and to that.” When you turn on the TV or listen to the radio, you essentially get the message that stress has a harmful effect on your body and your psychological well-being, however, that is not the complete truth.
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According to, lead 20th century endocrinologist stress expert Hans Selye, stress is “…the nonspecific response of the body to any demand made upon it.” He suggested that not all stress is bad.
Selye coined the term “Eustress” to describe positive stress and called its antithesis distress. He states that the type of stress is not determined by the stressor, but by how the individual perceives the stressor. If the individual perceives the stress as a challenge, as a meaningful undertaking, or anything that is positively framed in the individual’s mind, it is considered Eustress. Benefits include a feeling of fulfillment or other positive feelings, and it is also positively correlated with life satisfaction and well-being. On the other hand, if the person can not handle the stress and begins to see the stressor as a threat rather than a challenge, it is considered distress and often leads to anxiety, decreased morale and depression.
This is the reason why the most stressful events are occurrences beyond our control such as the internet constantly disconnecting while researching an article (I know that too well…), mental block during a presentation, a sudden lay-off, or a natural catastrophe. Not only are those events beyond our control, they are also inescapable. Examples of Eustress would be a job interview that you have been waiting for, marrying a person you actually want to marry, training to be the fastest runner because you like the challenge, and of course meeting a new friend.
Stress can be good
Going back to the question, “Is living stress-free truly beneficial?” In a perfect world, if would be nice to have no stress, however, realistically speaking, the majority of people cannot live a stress-free life. Every living-organism has a “non-specific demand made upon it.” The very act of living is essentially “stressful.” Despite that conundrum, I believe it is possible to live a distress-free life. I think it would be most beneficial to have a good amount of Eustress in your life. And the key is positivity, optimism and being smart. A smart and positive individual won’t choose a life that is filled with distress. For example, if you are laid-off and have no job, choosing to not do anything about it can be “stress-free” for a short while, but will eventually lead to distress. This can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and frustration. On the other hand, a positive, optimistic, and smart person will choose to look for work and feel Eustress. This leads to a feeling of pride, clarity and acceptance no matter what the results are. Eustress may also form positive cognitive schema that makes an individual more resistant to future distress.
Stress and life go hand in hand. Being positive, optimistic ,and smart leads an individual to a path rich in Eustress instead of distress. That in conjunction with leading a relaxing lifestyle, which is what Yawn Central endorses, will lead you to have a long, virtually stress-free and satisfying life.
1. D. L. Nelson, B. L. Simmons (2004). P. L. Perrewé, D. C. Ganster, ed. Eustress: An Elusive Construct an Engaging Pursuit (First Edition ed.). Oxford, UK: Elsevier Jai. ISBN 0-7623-1057-X.
2. O’Sullivan, Geraldine (18 July 2010). “The Relationship Between Hope, Eustress, Self-Efficacy, and Life Satisfaction Among Undergraduates”. Social Indicators Research 101 (1): 155–172. doi:10.1007/s11205-010-9662-z.