Eustress known as ‘good’ stress is a form of stress that some individuals seek out. They feel it benefits their performance, either by helping them to focus or by enhancing intrinsic motivation because they know they have coped with a stressful situation.
Eustress is a good form of stress and can leave you with a feeling of fulfilment. Pushing oneself to the limit can induce positive stress. It can help to improve focus thus improving technique.
Distress is known as ‘bad’ stress and normally what we talk about when we refer to stress. It is an extreme form of anxiety, nervousness, apprehension or worry as a result of a perceived inability to meet demands placed upon you.
It’s important to be able to differentiate between these to forms of stress because some actually facilitates performance while others debilitate performance.
|Demand (e.g. final audition)||Perception of demand||Increased arousal levels||Outcome|
|Positive perception (Challenge)||Eustress (Increased energy and motivation)||Increased performance|
|Negative perception (Threat)||Distress (increased worry)||Reduced performance|
At stage 1 of the process some form of demand is placed on you in a particular situation. At stage 2 you perceive this demand either positively or negatively. It is this perception that increases arousal levels. Stage 3 and stage 4 ultimately defines the outcome of the performance.
There are a number of causes of stress, but the key aspects to understanding is knowing that they are specific to the individual performer. It is common to have a number of performers in similar situations yet have an entirely different response to those situations.
Photo credit: signs-of-stress.com