October 20, 2019
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Editor's Note:  "Borderlines," BAMHS' periodic column, provides ideas and suggestions for healthy living, better family life and successful strategies for coping with life's challenges. Our newsletter is updated frequently! Check back often.
A different kind of stress
Posted: July 21, 2010
Last Updated: July 21, 2010

When you have reached the end of your rope and admit, “I’m stressed,” it’s hard to imagine anything positive being equated with the situation, but stress can have a positive origin instead of a negative one. Positive stress is called ‘eustress.’ It occurs just like stress, from unexpected or challenging situations that occur in life, but situations that, at first glance, seem positive, but can induce a mental toll on us due to the anxiety or uncertainty that accompany them.


The two top causes of eustress are perfect examples: getting married and changing jobs. Changing jobs can be difficult, even when you are heading to a better career opportunity, the situation can produce anxiety of the unknown, the stress of finishing assignments before you reach your last day, facing the first day on the job, meeting a new staff, dealing with new office rules and regulations can be worrisome. Though the challenge is positive, the associated smaller tasks of the challenge can at times seem overwhelming. Meeting the boss the first time might make you fret about making a good first impression, even though you know you are qualified for the job. That’s eustress—the little situations that accompany positive life changes that might make you feel overwhelmed at times.


To deal with eustress cropping up during your positive life changes try some of the following tips:


  • Remind yourself this is a positive change- sometimes the small details can tip the scales when dealing with a big change in life. Moving to a new house requires a lot of small details like turning on the utilities, loading and unpacking boxes, and dealing with realtors, but at the end, you have someplace better to live.
  • Keep remembering the BIG PICTURE- Remind yourself why you are taking on the situation—to make your life better. Don’t lose sight of that fact. It can help you channel the worries and anxiety associated with eustress into plans for how to deal with the situation or eventualities that might occur.
  • Plan for those small details—having a baby can be a big event that changes all your entire life, a sobering thought, but also an exciting one when you hold your child for the first time. Try planning for those little details that might make you feel anxious. Having the nursery ready can be a big relief when bringing the baby home for the first time. Investing a little forethought and action to see it carried though smoothly can enhance major life changes.
  • Take pride in your accomplishment- positive life changes should be acknowledged and celebrated. Take time to celebrate a successful move or new job or any major goal you accomplish. When people congratulate you don’t brush off the compliment; instead acknowledge it! You worked to make it happen, you deserve the credit.


Positive and negative stressors in life need to be acknowledged and confronted. Even positive situations at times can seem negative, but it’s all in your outlook and attitude in handling the situation. If you feel like situations in life, even positive ones, are overwhelming maybe speaking with a mental health professional could help bring your life into a better perspective.


To learn more about stress, positive and negative, and how it affects your life call Border Area Mental Health Services. To reach Border Area Mental Health Services in Grant and Hidalgo Counties, call 388-4412; in Catron County, call 533-6649; in Luna County, call 546-2174.  For CRISIS, call 538-3488 or outside Silver City, call 1-800-426-0997.

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© 2008 by Border Area Mental Health Services and Putting the Web to Work. Front-page photo copyright by Bob Pelham, Pinos Altos Cabins, and used by permission. All rights reserved. For the privacy and comfort of our clients and staff, the photographs used in this site are representative and do not show specific individuals associated with BAMHS.