Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Good Stress, Bad Stress, and No Stress With Mindful Breathing



Important Note: To listen to the "Mind Over Stress" podcast episode related to this blog post, click the audio player at the bottom of this post. Because some phones and tablets may not show the player, you can also listen on our "Mind Over Stress" website home page at http://MindOverStress.us.

Is There Such a Thing as "Good Stress"?


It's important to make a distinction between a stress experience that can be positive and another that can be problematic - and how to deal with the latter.

The Eustress Experience


A visit to http://Dictionary.com tells us that a type of stress called "Eustress" is defined as, "stress that is deemed healthful or giving one the feeling of fulfillment"

Examples include situations such as learning a new skill, preparing for your wedding, or those "butterflies" that come just before you're about to make a presentation. Eustress is episodic rather than chronic; it is typically associated with a positive change or experience.

The Distress Experience


Dictionary.com tells us that "Distress" the "other" stress experience - includes, "great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering; affliction; trouble". 

While there are an array of differences between eustress and distress, two of the most important are the duration and the meaning we give to the stress sensations. Typically, eustress situations are short lived (example: going on that "first date") and have an element of fun or positive excitement.

Distressful situations typically drag on for what seems like forever. Examples include working for a nasty boss, a lack of money to pay the bills every month, or being the caregiver for a seriously ill family member. There is no sense of fun, adventure, or positive excitement when we experience distress.

How Much Stress is Too Much?


One good way to determine when we are in a chronically distressed state is to monitor thoughts, emotions, and energy. Chronic distress wears on our sense of well-being and robs us of vitality. Our thoughts, mood, and general disposition turn negative. 

If your mood and sense of physical and emotional well-being turn south and you recognize your relationships are suffering, it's time to take action to manage and ultimately master the chronic distress experience called the Stress Repose.

How Do I Begin to Master Stress?

There are countless ways to mitigate and ultimately master the Stress Response. One of the easiest ways is to build short, mindful breathing breaks into your daily routine. This does not require you to sit on a cushion, OM, or spend hours in meditation. For most people, extended daily meditation isn't an option.

3-Step Mindful Breathing Practice


As a start toward your Stress Mastery way of living, I suggest doing the following simple Mindful Breathing practice.


  • Set a timer or email reminders to alert you at least once an hour (once every 30-minutes is better) that it's time to take a break.
  • Close your eyes for 60 - 90 seconds and simply breathe. As you breathe say in mind or out loud, "In" as you breathe in and then say "Out" as you exhale. The idea is to give your attention to the breath as you breathe in and out.
  • If your attention drifts toward thoughts or physical sensations other than your breath, as soon as you notice the change, simply return your attention to your breathing.


After completing your 60 to 90-seconds of Mindful Breathing, open your eyes, stretch, yawn and return to your activities renewed and refreshed.

When you complete your first Mindful Breathing practice, congratulate yourself! You've taken an important step towards a practice of Mindfulness Meditation and a calmer, healthier you.

Improved Well-being With Each Day of Mindful Breathing Practice


You'll begin to notice positive brain | mind | body benefits of Mindful Breathing practice within a couple of days. Those emotional and psychical benefits will grow with each day of practice. Aim for at least 10 to 15-minutes of Mindful Breathing in total each day, accumulated one to two minutes at a time. 

If you would like to practice Mindful Breathing for more time each day, so much the better. 

Podcast Episode for This Post

Listen to the "Mind Over Stress" podcast episode that leads you through the easy 3-step Mindful Breathing method by clicking the player below. 

If you don't see the player, go directly to the Mind Over Stress podcast website at http://MindOverStress.us

This episode is available on the site's homepage. 

Blessings, light, and peace,

Steve Carter

Stress Solutions, LLC | www.EFT-MD.com | Mind Over Stress Podcast: http://MindOverStress.us 

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