12/19/16: Good stuff, bad stuff. It’s all stuff!

Did you know that good stuff can be just as stressful as bad stuff? Everybody knows about DISTRESS. That comes with bad things happening. The Greeks, however, have a prefix, “EU” that means “good.” So, EUSTRESS is stress that comes when good things happen.

Hans Selye, MD, a Canadian psychiatrist back in the day, developed a list of the 50 most stressful things we encounter in life. Top of the list is “Death of a Spouse.” Second is “Christmas.” Third is “Divorce.” Although not always alternating in the pattern, the point is that both Eustress and Distress are prominent on the list.

Count on equal measure of eustress and distress when you or your child is going through a transition. Normal transitions for kids during a school day include asleep to awake, home to school, between classes, lunch, recess, school to home, and awake to asleep. During these and other transitions in life, we tend to find trouble.  Much heartache and difficulty can be avoided by simply giving your child a heads-up. Tell him five or ten minutes before the anticipated transition that he needs to wrap up what he’s doing and get ready.

If you get attitude for your efforts, recognize it as evidence of your child having an emotional fever. Bring the fever down by active listening, that is, trying to play back to him what you think he is feeling at the moment. After the fever is down, noticed by lower tension and calmer voice, go back to giving him another heads-up. The transition will occur, but you can lower the stress levels associated with transition.