Gretchen Rubin

Who knew? There are two kinds of stress: distress and eustress.

In a few hours, I’m off to Kansas City, to help get everything organized for my sister’s wedding this weekend.

A wedding is a wonderful occasion, but it also produces a lot of anxiety.

I just learned a new term, “eustress.” When we talk about stress, we generally mean “distress,” stress with its negative aspects. “Eustress” is the desirable kind of stress that comes from stimulating circumstances or challenges.

The distinction between dis-stress and eu-stress refers not to the effect on the person, but to the nature of the stress.

Although eustress is positive, it can be just as taxing at regular stress. My sister, for example, has two huge sources of eustress right now: getting married and getting her pilot picked up by ABC. Both of these are wonderful, and she’s thrilled – but she’s also very stressed. Or rather, eustressed.

This is familiar to everyone, of course. Happy occasions like getting a big promotion, the Christmas holidays, buying a new house, having a baby, or going rock-climbing can be very stressful.

I think it’s helpful to know this distinction. I’ll bet that reminding myself that I’m “eustressed” will help me remember to keep a grateful, appreciative frame of mind when I’m feeling stressed about a positive event.

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I can't believe that I've never mentioned Lifehack before, but apparently I never have. It's a site I love to visit when I'm between tasks and can't seem to get myself motivated to start the next thing. It's always interesting and helpful, and just dipping into its enthusiastic, we-can-tackle-it atmosphere gives me a boost.

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