Types of Stress

There are a few main types of stress – Eustress (positive stress) and Distress (negative stress).



Eustress is beneficial stress—either psychological, physical (e.g. exercise), or biochemical (hormesis). Eustress refers to a positive response one has to a stressor, which can depend on one’s current feelings of control, desirability, location, and timing of the stressor.

Distress – Bad Stress

Distress is an aversive state in which a person is unable to completely adapt to stressors, their resulting stress and shows maladaptive behaviours. It can be evident in the presence of various phenomena, such as inappropriate social interaction (e.g., aggression, passivity, or withdrawal). It is a general term used to describe unpleasant feelings or emotions that impact your level of functioning. In other words, it is psychological discomfort that interferes with your activities of daily living.

In Comparison

EUSTRESS (Positive Stress)DISTRESS (Bad Stress)
MotivatesCauses anxiety or concern
Focuses energyCan lead to mental or
physical problems
Is short-termCan be short-term or long-term
Is perceived as within our
coping abilities
Is perceived as outside
of our coping abilities
Feels excitingFeels unpleasant
Improves performanceDecreases performance

Not all stress is bad. To perform there must be a level of manageable stress.

Unaddressed workplace stress can lead to:

  • Poor job performance
  • Quality issues
  • Possible redundancy or termination 
  • Employee financial difficulty
  • Less effective everyday functionality
  • Pre- mature ageing
  • Onset of mental health
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Low self esteem
  • Nervous breakdown / Burnouts
  • PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorders

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For more information on types of stress and how they impact you or your business or for general inquiries: