Have you ever had a time in your life where, on the surface, life “couldn’t be better,” yet couldn’t understand why you still felt so stressed out? I often hear this concern from not only the elite-level athletes I work with (who often feel this way while competing their best), but also many of the successful people I know who also feel stressed while advancing in their careers. So, what gives??
Interestingly, health psychologists have identified a “good stress” called eustress – and it is this type of stress that often appears during relatively good times in our lives. For example, think about the short list of good things people often experience yet still feel extremely stressed during these times:
- the holidays
- moving to a new/better home
- earning a job promotion
- planning for a wedding
- sending a child off to college
As you can see from the list above, even events we typically enjoy can be extremely stressful! This is important to know as it helps when it comes to framing what is going on in our lives during times of crisis. So rather than wonder if something is wrong with you while you stress over a job promotion, you might want to remind yourself that it’s actually quite normal — and even expected — that you might stress over a job promotion.
Sport psychologists, ironically, often help successful athletes deal with their good fortunes as much as they do less talented athletes deal with their frustrations. Of course, we don’t hear as much about successful athletes who struggle to deal with their accomplishments, but trust me, this is actually a fairly common occurrence.
If we struggle with understanding how eustress impacts our lives, it can lead to increased anxiety, low self-confidence, poor motivation, and poor resiliency. On the other hand, by properly identifying eustress it allows us to “normalize” what is happening and actually excel in the new situation/circumstance.
For more help with stress, life wellness, and leading a life that includes more good stress than bad, check out Optimal Balance today. This program is designed to help you become better acquainted with contemporary psychology theories and applications designed to help you maximize your happiness while minimizing bad stress.