Lesson 1: Eustress


Gain basic understanding of Eustress


  • Read the following material
  • Activity

We associate negative things with stress based on personal experiences and hearing others talk about how bad it makes them feel.  Daily demands and unexpected situations create pressures which can make us feel fatigued, irritable, and emotionally drained. Excess pressures can take a toll on our physical, emotional and spiritual health.

If we don’t understand how stress affects our well being it can lead to chronic disease, depression, and unhealthy coping methods.  Taking steps to understand, recognize, and manage our stress can prevent us from undesirable outcomes, specifically diabetes.

We are uniquely designed to function at an optimal level when we are eating nutritious foods, getting regular exercise, getting enough sleep and limiting the amount of stress in our lives, but when we don’t maintain a balanced life our bodily functions become out of balance and this causes negative responses which lead to disrupted functions of our metabolism, nervous system, genetic expression and immune systems.  This disruption creates imbalances in other parts of lives as well as our spiritual well being.


What Is Stress?  As defined by ehealth MD, “stress is the emotional and physical strain caused by our response to pressure from the outside world. Common stress reactions include tension, irritability, inability to concentrate, and a variety of physical symptoms that include headache and a fast heartbeat.”

A Umatilla member diagnosed with diabetes was asked, during her interview, if there was anything she would like say about having diabetes.

Marvella Jones,Umatilla


WISDOM: Is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you would like to say about your disease or what, what you can say to help other people with theirs?

Marvella: “Well, I always seem to get stressed out so easily about it, you know. “

As Marvella commented, about always seeming to being stressed out because she has diabetes, is a concern that needs to be shared and this is one reason gaining a basic understanding of stress can help with preventing diabetes or help to alleviate the daily pressures of managing your diabetic care.



There are three types of stress, acute, episodic, and chronic which we deal with in different situations and with different responses, but not all stress is bad for us.

First we will start with eustress because it’s not discussed and occurs naturally during harmonious times and we need to do more things that promote eustress.

Eustress is that rush we feel when we’ve completed a goal, done something we normally wouldn’t do, like sky diving, running a marathon, or singing karaoke, we also feel it when we win a game, get a promotion or finish a project.  It can be as simple as laughing or anything that excites us and provides a physical and emotional surge of positive energy or simply makes us smile.  Although eustress only lasts for a short period of time we feel good about ourselves, we feel a certain gratification and alleviates some of our pains.


The key word here is “natural.” In our world today we have become influenced by pharmaceutical companies who provide a pill to immediately make us feel good, but if we don’t use our natural abilities to maintain a healthy lifestyle to deal with stress in healthy ways, the side effects of drugs, prolonged use and a continuous chronic state of stress can cause damaging health effects.

Using coping methods like alcohol, illegal drugs, and unhealthy foods can damage our bodies, family life and sometimes lead to addiction.  These methods can influence how our children learn to cope with their personal stressors and as good parents we want our children to be healthy and prevent them from experiencing any physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual imbalances too.

So, if we want to have any kind of stress in our lives we want eustress, its free, its natural, and it’s safe!  We can do healthy things that make us feel good about ourselves, but most importantly we “teach and show our children” a healthy way of living.

Our first step is to recognize stress, both good and bad.  Identify what the stressors are and incorporate more of the things that make us feel good.


You will need a sheet of paper and a pencil or pen.

Answer these questions:

  • In your own words what is stress to you?
  • How do you normally deal with stress?


  • What is eustress?
  • What are some activities that you haven’t done and would like to do that provide eustress?

Short story:

  • Write a short story about some of the fun things you did when you were a child, try to remember details like, what kind of day it was, sunny, cool, or quiet.  Things you could smell, the flowers, grandma doing her canning, drying meat, or maybe you were in the mountains picking berries. Did anybody do something to make you laugh or something happen to you that makes you smile, laugh or feel good when you think of that particular event?

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