Understanding The Types of Stress

Stress is the body’s reaction to certain strain or pressure. When facing stress, your body and mind react in particular ways, different for each person. Stress is usually caused due to certain pressures or difficult circumstances. However, not all stressors are a bad thing. In fact, there are 2 major types of stress. One type of stress invokes a negative reaction and one, a positive response. These 2 types of stress are called distress and eustress! Both of them can motivate you in different ways and have their own causes.

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Understanding the 2 types of stress


The word eustress is coined using the Greek prefix ‘eu’ which means good. This type of stress brings joy and fulfilment and is a positive reaction to a certain pressure situation. 

If not for positive stresses, it would be difficult to get things done. Everyday, we use the word stress in a negative way which has given it a bad reputation. However, that is not so!

Eustress is a type of stress that is within your coping abilities. It’s a friendlier, more actionable stress that pushes you on to achieve something. It helps you increase focus on your task at hand and motivates you to do better. It’s short term, exciting and perceived by you as doable or something you can cope with while improving performance. When you practice gratitude or feel grateful, the rush of blood and positivity you feel is eustress!

Finishing an assignment, getting praised publicly, celebrating your birthday with friends are all examples of eustress which help you feel good. As a result, the positive stress exerted by getting a reward for a job well done motivates you and pushes you to do better.

Eustress is one of the types of stress. It is positive in nature.

Some common examples of positive stressors are:

  • Receiving a promotion or raise at work.
  • Starting a new job.
  • Marriage.
  • Taking a holiday
  • Learning a new hobby


If you didn’t know about different types of stress, this is the one that you’d know as stress. Distress means something causes extreme sorrow, anxiety or pain and is a negative form of stress. 

This type of stress is extreme, adverse and is not good for you. It can cause anxiety, tension, nervousness and feels extremely unpleasant. This is also short term, but in many cases can persist for a long time. If that happens, it can lead to a range of health issues, both physical and mental. Distress is outside your body & mind’s perceived coping abilities and you may struggle when experiencing it. 

When you are overworked, facing an extremely tight deadline, suffering a loss, unable to sleep and feeling extremely low, you are experiencing distress. This negative stress can also decrease your productivity, focus and takes a toll on your mental and physical state. 

This stress is something you face all the time as well and it can overwhelm you. In fact, this stress is designed to be overcome in short bursts, so if you do experience distress for a prolonged period, it has a severe impact on your health. This is why it’s important to be skilled in stress management and be aware of hacks to reduce stress instantly!

Distress is one of the types of stress. It is negative in nature.

Some common examples of negative stressors are:

  • Intense pressure at work
  • Financial problems
  • Fights with friends and family
  • Bad relationship with manager
  • Job insecurity
  • Lack of down time

There are various causes of stress and ways you can overcome it. Types of stress also include workplace stress, pregnancy, academic pressure and now, Coronavirus!

Things to remember – Some amount of stress actually helps us function better, keeping us more alert and productive. This is called ‘optimal stress’. They are positive and within our coping abilities. It’s the negative prolonged stress that can lead to health and other problems if not taken care of properly. Hence, we suggest you practice stress management on a regular basis too!

Evolve helps you proactively manage stress with a variety of light & joyful guided audios. Try the Evolve app for free and get started on your personal growth and emotional well-being journey!