Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Eustress vs. Distress

"You're a lot less stressed at this job than the last one." Mom said. And you know what? She's right. I started this job about a month ago and I'm overwhelmed. I'm stressed. But it's a different kind of stress than before.

My old job was a good one. I had talented, driven, passionate coworkers. I had a nice stand-up desk in my office, a window with an outside view, daily time outdoors, good medical and retirement benefits, etc. But the job wasn't me. I found myself constantly striving, trying to fit a mold, longing to be my authentic self in counseling, but not being able to do it.

There are two kids of stress: distress (the bad kind) and eustress (the good kind). Distress results from pressure I'm not able to deal with. It yields overwhelming gloom, helplessness, and in serious cases, hopelessness. There's no way out and the body's response is fight, flight or freeze.

Eustress is the good kind of stress, the stress that makes me aware, helps me learn, pushes me to become a better person. So far, this new job is a fit for me. It allows me to meet with and help people. It puts me out in the community. It provides opportunities to work towards professional counseling licensure. It teaches me about life and people.

Yes, I'm stressed. I'm not sleeping as well as I'd like. I struggle to shut down my mind and rest. But the stress I'm experiencing is good. Therefore, I'm choosing to thank God for the stress, even if what I'd really like is a nice calm life.

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