Los Angeles High School of the Arts

Types of stress and effects


“Fight or Flight.” You might have heard this term before. If you haven’t well then you just have. This is just one way your body reacts to factors in life: positive or negative.

You’ve heard the term stress before.. Right? Everyone goes through it. It is the way your body reacts to changes that create demands; either eustress or distress. Which one is positive? Which one is negative? Well distress has negative characteristics and eustress has positive characteristics.

Recently, I interviewed three people who asked me to keep their names as anonymous. I asked them if they have ever experienced eustress, in other words, positive stress. They replied with different answers. One of them said that they have, while the others said that they have not experienced eustress before. One of them said that stress can only be negative. I asked them why they thought that.

“The only stress I have ever experienced was negative, the only effects I have seen are negative. It can cause someone stable to become unstable. It can also change their mindset or outlook, the way they see things,” one of the anonymous person said.

Then I asked them why changing their mindset is negative. This person started to think and smiled. They told me that maybe it doesn’t have to be negative if you don’t want it to be negative.

I felt good because I helped this person realize that not everything is negative in life.

Stress has many effects which can be positive and negative. Eustress can motivate you, help you focus, or make you feel excited. The only con is that eustress is short-term, it doesn’t last long.

Distress does the total opposite to most people. It causes people to feel anxious and it can lead to depression or long-term anxiety. It can be short-term or long-term; it does not feel good at all.

On the other hand, eustress feels great. Everyone has experienced both these types of stress in their life.

Next time you know someone is experiencing, or if you are experiencing distress, tell them to think about how many positive things exist too. No matter how many negative things exist in life, there will eventually be a positive one.

“A star can’t shine without darkness.”