“We feel distress rather than eustress when we perceive something to be a threat rather than a challenge.”― Teal Swan, American Author
A while ago I learned there was such a thing as good and bad debt. The interest cost of using credit cards that are not paid off monthly is not the same as the equity you can build in purchasing a home. Investopedia says, “Good debt has the potential to increase your wealth, while bad debt costs you money with high interest on purchases for depreciating assets.” We used to say student loans were good debt because those with college degrees make higher incomes over their lifetimes —nowadays, I’m not so sure.
Did you know there is also good and bad stress? I used to believe all stress was damaging, destructive, detrimental…and should be avoided. STRESS is pressure or tension exerted on a material object; a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. The prefix eu means good, while dis means bad. So, distress is extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain…while EUSTRESS is moderate or normal psychological stress, interpreted as being beneficial. One day while feeling stress, I turned to prayer and journaling and was reminded that, “All stress isn’t bad stress; some of it is eustress.”
Eustress occurs when we receive a promotion, start a new job, marry, buy a home, have a child, retire, take a vacation, or pursue education. It motivates us and focuses our energy. We are excited and our adrenaline rushes because we are NOT overwhelmed—we believe we are within our coping capabilities. Distress, on the other hand, over things like health challenges, divorce, death, abuse, interpersonal conflicts, money problems, job or sleep loss— causes anxiety. It feels unpleasant because we are overwhelmed. Psalm 118:5 AMP says, “Out of my distress I called on the LORD; The LORD answered me and set me free.”
Paul tells the Church at Philippi not to be anxious about anything, but to pray specifically about everything, to allow God’s peace to guard their hearts and positive thoughts to fill their minds (Phil 4:4-9). Then he describes how he lives in eustress. He writes, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (NLT) Are you experiencing distress, eustress, or both? If distress…cry out to God for supernatural help. If eustress…understand that though it is not easy, you and God can handle this!