The two sides of stress: distress and eustress

One common misconception about stress is that it should be minimised at all cost—that stress is bad. But stress is just your body and your mind’s response to external challenges. Depending on the particular stressors and your reaction, stress can be detrimental (distress) or beneficial (eustress). While the prefix -dis in “distress” has the same …

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Creating calm: how to manage stress

Ambition makes some levels of stress inevitable. However, while stress is a basic survival response, it can often be triggered in situations that are far from being life threatening—such as too much work, public speaking, or conflict. In addition, long-term stress is detrimental both for your mental and your physical health. The good news is: …

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The Goldilocks Principle of Stress and Anxiety

As I was chatting with a friend, we noticed that we both felt incredibly excited and anxious about the work we were currently doing. We could not come up with the right word to describe that exact feeling: we were stressed, yes, but not in a negative way. We did worry about the outcome of …

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Worrying well: how to bring wisdom to your worries

Worry is traditionally seen as a negative emotion. But is it possible worry has a positive function, and that we just don’t tend to use it well? Physician and researcher Martin L. Rossman argues that worry is actually an adaptive function to better solve problems and imagine creative solutions. And worrying well is a skill …

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Dealing with anxiety at work

Whether struggling to meet a tight deadline or dealing with difficult colleagues, there are many reasons why you may feel anxious at work. Considering that most of us spend the majority of our days working—whether remotely or in an office—being able to deal with anxiety at work is crucial to managing your mental health. While …

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Impostor syndrome: the fear of being exposed as a fraud

“I am not a writer. I’ve been fooling myself and other people.” John Steinbeck, very talented and successful author who won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature. Yesterday, I launched my newsletter on Product Hunt. The launch went incredibly well, with 1,300 new subscribers joining the list, lots of kind comments, and a second spot …

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How stress and anxiety impact your ability to focus

Negative emotions such as stress and anxiety can have an effect on cognitive processes, with many studies showing that inducing negative mood states in individuals leads to a reduction in executive functions (Grant et al, 2001; Hammar & Ardal, 2009). This reduction may be caused by a depletion in limited attention resources in individuals experiencing …

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Your brain on cortisol

In humans, stress can be defined as an actual or anticipated disruption of homeostasis in an individual (Ulrich-Lai & Herman, 2009). The brain plays a central role in the experience of stressful events and the regulation of stress: it adapts to stress both functionally and structurally, and dictates how individuals cope with stress (McEwen & …

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