Distress: What is it and how is it related to work stress?

It is called distress or distress to negative stress. Stress is the body's response to a threatening situation. Although stress is negative in itself, when it becomes chronic, it can begin to produce negative consequences.

Stress, Eustress and Distress

Stress is often talked about because of the way we who live, especially in big cities. But not all stress is bad, and not all stress is stress.

Stress has different meanings, the most general and common to describe it is that of a reaction of the organism to a situation that is perceived as threatening or of increased demand. This reaction can be both to an environmental factor and to a stimulus.

Today, constant pressure from work, education or obligations keeps many people on their toes to meet these goals. When this situation is accentuated or extended over time, it can become negative for the body.

But, stress in a certain amount is positive and necessary for human beings. It is a natural process that allows humans to solve problems using our abilities. That is why when we talk about this topic we can divide it between two opposite emotional responses, eustress and distress.

Positive stress: Eustress

The eustress it is the kind of stimulation that allows us to experience the world as it is. A way of relating to the outside that does not provide organic imbalances but rather pleasant sensations. It is part of our adaptability.

This type of stimulation is achieved, for example, using relaxation techniques that allow us to be in harmony with our surroundings and to remove distress. It prepares us for creative life and in harmony with ourselves.

Eustress is then a positive emotional response to a certain situation. Knowing this definition, we understand that a little stress is always necessary, because we need external stimuli to feel motivated.

The problem – like everything in life – arises when we have it in excess.


When stress becomes a repetitive situation that can also produce negative health consequences, it becomes distress or distress.

It is a level of internal or external stimulus that by repetition and perseverance ends up producing fatigue, tiredness and problems in the body, such as loss of appetite or inflammation in the digestive system.

The causes of distress there are many, but it is usually related to work stress. It is very common for people who go through these types of situations to appear "burned". This type of syndrome caused by work stress is called “ Burnout syndrome ''

The distress has severe physical and mental consequences, especially if it lasts over time. At one extreme, it can lead to cerebrovascular disease and ischemic heart disease. Symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, siminution of sexual desire, dizziness, digestive problems, among others, can also be experienced.

In the psychic aspect appears the lack of creativity, irrational behavior, aggressiveness, insecurity, lack of concentration, depression and impatience.

As stress is also used to name situations in which there is a negative stimulus on the body, some diseases are called with the word distress. But they do not have to do in particular with a psychic situation but with associated pre-existing diseases. It is the case of respiratory distress.


Many are the factors that provoke negative stress in the world of work, this type of distress is identified as burnout syndrome.

It generally appears in people who have poorly paid vocational professions or lack the vocation to continue. When the demand is too high and the reward too low, the person feels demotivated to keep going.

It can also happen when there is an excess demand for work and poor working conditions. Lack of personal fulfillment, bad work environment, poor communication with the team and lack of interest on the part of organizations are factors that lead to this imbalance.


First, it is important to identify the situation and seek the help of a professional. It is important to attend to the physical consequences but also the psychic ones, since the problem has an emotional origin.

Then start giving more space to life and personal space. Find an activity that you enjoy or take a few minutes a day to relax your mind and dispel negative thoughts.

Exercise routines, as well as meditation and mindfulness They are tools that are there for your health and well-being.

Ask yourself what you like and give yourself a space in the week to do it. '' I don't have time '' is not an excuse. There is always the place, the issue is knowing how to manage it to make it do what we want while keeping our commitments.

Sources: Wikipedia, Web Prevention, Psychoactive.

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