Stress vs. Distress: Know the Difference

By Zoe Taylor

Stress isn’t always a bad thing. I know what you’re thinking, ‘what are you talking about? Stress is always bad thing. I want to be stress free all the time!’ The truth is, there are a lot of benefits to stress. It’s distress that is the real problem.

It’s important to understand the difference between stress and distress. Stress is caused by high pressure situations, situations where a lot is being asked by you and you are unsure whether you can deliver. It is when you experience mental or emotional strain or tension because of this. So why is stress sometimes a good thing? Well, it pushes you to do your best. If you’re experiencing a mild case of stress, chances are you’re going to get the job done to a high standard, because you know the stakes are high and are feeling the pressure

That’s not to say that being stressed out all the time is a good thing. It’s when you start to feel extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain in a particular circumstance that the stress becomes distress and you’re faced with a problem. When your stress is prolonged and gets worse with time, becoming distress, it’s no longer motivational, and it can negatively effect your work.


If you think your stress is turning into distress, and you’re starting to lose all motivation and feel it’s negatively effecting your work, we recommend you check out our tips for de-stressing here. Look after yourself. Make sure you stay relaxed when and get rid of any distress you have. If our tips don’t help, we recommend you seek professional help before it starts to take a toll on your health and wellbeing.

For help in finding the right career path for you, or for useful tips on areas including studying and finding success, call 1800 143 080 or visit to contact one of our friendly career advisors!

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