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Eustress VS. Distress

Updated: May 7

Not all stress is harmful. Eustress is a positive form of stress that can enhance performance or motivation.

For instance, sunlight acts as an eustress on a flower, prompting it to draw nutrients from the ground to grow and bloom. When a caterpillar forms its chrysalis and begins the process of metamorphosis, it undergoes a significant amount of stress. This stress is necessary for its transformation into a butterfly. The struggle of breaking free from the chrysalis and expanding its wings is a form of eustress. This positive stress enables the butterfly to strengthen its wings and prepare for flight. Without this eustress, the butterfly would not be able to complete its metamorphosis and achieve its full potential.

Eustress fosters positive cycles such as:

  • Awareness/Sleep

  • Learning/Reflecting

  • Socializing/Solitude

  • Moving/Resting

  • Fasting/Eating

These cycles combat brain and body atrophy and promote long-term health. Stress is beneficial until it overwhelms resilience, leading to Metabolic Chaos. 

Distress, the harmful counterpart of eustress, disrupts homeostasis, leading to dysfunction and metabolic chaos.

Homeostasis & Hormesis

A balanced amount of stress is beneficial, a concept explained by Homeostasis and Hormesis.

Homeostasis - a state of balance among all the body systems needed for the body to survive and function correctly. Homeostasis maintains internal stability despite external changes, like sweating during exercise to regulate temperature.

Hormesis is defined as a phenomenon in which a harmful substance gives stimulating & beneficial effects to living organisms (humans) when the quantity of the harmful substance is small. Hormesis suggests that low doses of stressors can be beneficial, as seen in moderate exercise improving health, while excessive exercise harms it.

How do you determine if there is good stress or bad stress for you?

Let's consider fasting as an example. Is it STRESS? YES! The New England Journal of Medicine stated in 2019 that fasting should be used as the first line of treatment for diabetes, obesity, cancer, neurodegenerative brain conditions, and cardiovascular disease.

So, is fasting a good stress or bad stress? Well, it depends on the person's current state. How can you measure this? There are two ways:

  1. Measure your blood glucose and ketones using a KetoMojo meter at the beginning of fasting, at 12 hours, and at 16 hours, and then later on. If your glucose drops and ketones rise, you are benefiting from fasting. Your autophagy increases, you enter ketosis, improve insulin sensitivity, and more. If your glucose rises and ketones drop during fasting, shorten your fasting window.

  2. Measure your HRV (Heart Rate Variability). Variation in time between heartbeats can be measured using an electrocardiogram or wearable devices like the Oura Ring. HRV is a key indicator of autonomic nervous system function, resilience, flexibility, and overall health. It typically decreases with age and shows gender differences. For ages 20-29, HRV ranges from 24-62 milliseconds, decreasing to 16-28 for ages 60-69. On average, men have an HRV around 40, while women average around 37. The higher your HRV, the more adaptive you are to stress, the better stress recovery, and overall balance in the autonomic nervous system, while a lower HRV suggests less adaptability and potential imbalance due to illness, overtraining, or chronic stress. There is no universal optimal HRV; we all have different states of health. You will need to find out your personal optimal HRV. Measure your HRV (Heart Rate Variability) with an Oura ring for at least one week and calculate your average HRV per day. Once you know your optimal HRV, track it while undergoing any stressors—whether it's fasting, exercising, cold plunges, sauna sessions, etc. If your HRV decreases the next day, you have subjected your body to excessive stress, so reconsider your routine.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring

I personally prefer to measure my blood glucose with KetoMojo Meter because I want to know if my blood ketones rise while doing keto or fasting. CGM measures only glucose. However, at the beginning, it may be helpful to see in real-time how your body responds to different foods/drinks. CGM initially designed for diabetic patients, now popularized by Biohackers who enjoy tracking various metrics. I often suggest it to my clients for educational purposes.

CGM, a small sensor inserted under the skin on the upper arm, measures glucose levels in the interstitial fluid every few minutes and sends data wirelessly to your smartphone.

Synchronized with the TheiaHealth app, it is a convenient tool for practitioners like me to monitor clients' glucose levels. While helpful for understanding how your body responds to different foods, CGM doesn't replace lab tests for insulin. If you want to give it a try, I can help you order a guide…

Stress Management practical workshop and retreat at Faena Hotel Miami Beach.

🙌 Join us at the upcoming 'Stress Management' practical workshop and retreat at Faena Hotel Miami Beach. The workshop includes an Educational Lecture on the Stress Response System, covering the causes of various types of stress, their impact on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels, as well as effective management strategies.

🎁 Attendees will enjoy access to Faena’s state-of-the-art wellness facilities, including the sauna, steam room, hammam, and ice chamber. These amenities provide the perfect complement to the day’s activities, offering opportunities for detoxification, rejuvenation, and sensory renewal.

🌹Limited Spots Available; hurry to reserve yours! 

Sending Optimal Health & Ultimate Wellness,

Julia Smila, Holistic Health Practitioner & Pranic Healer

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