Grand Futures: How we handle stress |

Grand Futures: How we handle stress

Rachel Kandzierski and Amber DeLay
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

There is always change and adaptation happening in our lives, whether we recognize it or not. Over the past two months, we have all had changes to our daily habits and practices. It may have brought to light how we respond to change and to stress that can come along with it. Having conversations about stress responses, coping skills and mental health are important.

Stress is the body’s reaction to changes that creates an uncomfortable environment for a person. There are two types of stress, and they both impact physical and mental health in different ways. The form of stress you’re probably most familiar with is called distress. Distress, or what we experience as negative stress, causes side effects known to negatively impact your physical and mental well-being.

There is another kind of stress, eustress, that we experience in a more positive way. Eustress is associated with significant life changes, such as moving, starting a new job or taking on a new project. Beneficial stress helps people stay motivated and work towards their goals. 

A person’s physical, mental and emotional resources all play a role in determining whether someone will experience eustress or distress when faced with a challenging environment. This means, while one person may be excited and motivated by a project, if another person doesn’t have the same personal resources they may instead feel overwhelmed and anxious.

During the COVID-19 pandemic and this period of social distancing, it is the perfect opportunity to create situations that cause you to feel beneficial stress. If you have a project at home you have been meaning to start or finish, take this extra time at home to do just that. Physically, eustress is caused by challenging your body and achieving personal goals you set for yourself. This is a great time to set goals that are realistic. 

It is really easy to feel overwhelmed by all the negativity and stress factors. Take this time apart from everyone else to reflect on personal goals and where you would like to see growth, and put those ideas into action. Push yourself outside your comfort zone, try a new hobby or engage in physical activity to help promote beneficial stress in your life.

Grand Futures envisions healthy communities where healthy lifestyle choices are the norm, we are committed to preventing substance among youth and young people in Northwest Colorado and cultivating healthy communities. For more resources on stress, COVID-19 and our work, visit

Rachel Kandzierski is the communications associate for Grand Futures. Amber DeLay is the executive director of Grand Futures. 

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