Definition: This is the type of ‘positive’ stress that keeps us vital and excited about life. The excitement of a roller-coaster ride, a scary movie, or a fun challenge are all examples of eustress.
Eustress is actually important for us to have in our lives. Without it, we would become depressed and perhaps feel a lack of meaning in life. Not striving for goals, not overcoming challenges, not having a reason to wake up in the morning would be damaging to us, so eustress is considered ‘good’ stress. It keeps us healthy and happy.
Eustress also reminds us that we can view many of the stressors in our lives as ‘challenges’ rather than ‘threats’, and have extra vital energy to handle these stressors, without a feeling of being overwhelmed or unhappy. It’s the sense of excitement you get from completing a project, riding a roller coaster, or meeting an exciting challenge in your life. We need regular eustress in our lives, and fun activities can provide that.
That said, while eustress doesn’t generally carry the same type of damage as chronic stress, too much eustress can still tax your system. That’s why it’s important to have ‘down time’ and balance in one’s life.
It’s important to prioritize having fun. Here are things that help you enjoy life more:
A Positive Attitude: A positive attitude helps you look at life with more humor and less negativity that has a tendency to make challenges even more challenging.
Laughter: The ‘Best Medicine’: Laughter carries many health benefits with it, so the more laughter you have in your life, the better it is for your health.
Fun is User-Friendly: It might be hard to hit the gym multiple times a week or forgo unhealthy ‘comfort foods’ when you’re stressed, but fitting more fun and laughter into your life is something you can do for yourself that’s also easy!
Strong Relationships: A healthy relationship can be a great source of better health and a great stress reliever in your life.Couples who engage in new activities together and have regular fun together may enjoy a closer bond and feel they are not alone when a challenge surfaces.
A Good Social Support System: Likewise with friends, sharing fun activities with friends is a great way to maintain a supportive circle of buddies, keeping your bonds strong and helping everyone in the group keep stress levels low. Having strong friendships in your life, and a sense of community, has been linked with longevity, lower stress levels, and more positive states of health. That is why you should find positive connections whether for business or personal.
Burnout Buffering: Having regular fun activities to spice up your life can also help you stave off burnout. Feelings of burnout can result from having a stressful job with unpredictable, hard-to-meet expectations and little recognition. Or if you are a small business entrepreneur, worry about money. One of the methods I’ve always endorsed for finding relief from this type of job stress is to give yourself small rewards, or find a group of supportive friends to high-five each other when they accomplish goals that would otherwise go unrecognized. Giving yourself a regular dose of fun is a way to do that, and share it with friends.
Dawn Billings, psychotherapist, CEO & Founder of TROVA Business Network and The Heart Link Women’s Network, Find Success.CO and creator of the Parent Tool and Child Development System called CAPABLES.