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Eustress and Distress: Reactivation

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Jan Felicjan Terelak

The author of the book provides a comprehensive examination of stress, an integral part of people’s lives. In the first chapter, he reviews the 20th-century theories of stress, from biological mechanisms of stress through medical concepts to contemporary models of psychological stress. The second chapter provides a detailed classification of sources of stress, based on physical, chronobiological, psychological and social factors. In the third chapter, the author focuses on reactions to stress and presents them from physiological, emotional, cognitive and behavioral perspectives. The fourth chapter focuses on two theoretical constructs: resistance to stress and coping with stress. The author presents task-oriented, emotion-oriented and avoidance-oriented strategies of coping with stress and underlines the role of social support in dealing with stress.

The author emphasizes the fact that stress has many faces. It can be seen as "eustress", which has an important motivational function, forcing us to make efforts and achieve life goals, or "distress", which distracts us from achieving our goals and comfort of life.

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General conclusions

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The first general conclusion from our considerations is as follows: stress is an integral part of our lives and has as many “faces” as the number of people living in the world (past, present and future), and it is largely up to us whether we see it as “eustress”, which has an important motivational function, forcing us to make efforts and achieve life goals, or whether we see it as “distress”, which distracts us from achieving our goals and comfort of life. The second important for the reader conclusion concerns the ability to cope with stress, which, apart from immunological support of our general immunity, is, on the one hand, the effect of learning how to prevent stress situations, and on the other hand, the access to support of the closest and sympathetic people as well as many state, local and charity institutions, which, apart from instrumental coping by arousing emotions of hope, can change distress into eustress (Małkiewicz, Terelak, (2016). The third significant fact which impairs the rational use of life experience in coping with stress is subjective probability, burdened with the error of logical reasoning and turning to thinking overburdened with various forms of emotion of hope that “someone” or “something” will magically do the coping for us (Kahneman, Tversky, 1972).

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