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5 Things to Know about Stress

Stress can fall into two categories: distress and eustress.

Published on November 19, 2020

The following information is provided by Forrest Rackham, PsyD, a clinical psychologist with the Phelps Health Medical Group:

1. Is all stress bad? If not, why?

Not all stress is bad. Stress can fall into two categories.

  • Distress is often seen as negative, and people tend to avoid this type.
  • Eustress is seen as positive, can be energizing and help people better perform tasks.

Your ability to cope and your perception play a role in which type of stress you experience.


2. What are some common causes of stress?

  • Personal trials or difficulties
  • Unpredictable, large-scale events (pandemics, catastrophes, natural disasters, exposure to violence)
  • Significant life changes (marriage, moving, changing or losing a job)
  • Daily hassles (overscheduling, clutter, too many emails, stubbing your toe, no coffee)


3. If you are stressed, what are some symptoms you may notice?

Physical symptoms may include the following:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Stomachaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches

Emotional symptoms may include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Depression
  • Worry
  • Anger


4. What are some ways to manage/reduce stress?

  • Seek help or help other people
  • Meditate or practice breath meditation
  • Play with a pet
  • Try yoga
  • Listen to music
  • Read a book
  • Exercise
  • Go to a spa


5. When should you seek help?

  • When your thoughts start leading toward suicidal or self-harm feelings
  • If you are experiencing uncontrollable anxiety or depression
  • When you no longer “feel like yourself”
  • When all other things do not seem to be working

Here for You When You Need Us Most

To talk with a Phelps Health primary care provider about stress, or to schedule an appointment with a primary care provider, visit or call (573) 364-9000.

Found in: Care Health Stress Wellness