Stress or Distress, Which One Do You Have?

Often, there are folks who look alike but are not related by blood. They’re everywhere. I had an officemate who looked incredibly like my classmate in college but they were not related. It’s something like that with stress and distress. They sound alike but they are not that closely related. One is so busy and the other less busy.

Healthy Stress

Stress is actually healthy and helps us a lot in being productive. If it keeps you excited to face up to challenges and happy with what you are doing, it’s healthy stress. We need it to spur ourselves further to reach our potentials. It’s like how I wake up each morning excited to work to make my blogs perform better. Or, excited to run a longer distance in the morning. Or, excited to do a new and daring project at the office.

Good stress is also how you’re challenged to court a girl or meet the love of your life. There’s stress in that, but one that keeps you excited and happy, though a bit sitting at the edge of your seat. Healthy stress colors your life brighter. At times I believe it’s connected to adrenaline rush—there’s stress facing up to a formidable challenge but you’re excited and determined to surmount it and that’s when adrenaline rush happens and you get extra strong.


But when stress begins to eat you, control you and mess you up, that’s distress. It can trigger negative chemical reactions in the body—double oxidation and free radical activity—and result to illnesses, even deadly diseases. Thus, we really have to kick stress out of our bodies and lives. It’s not just a fad—it’s a MUST! We have to find happiness permanently in our lives, regardless of our circumstances. Be happy in peace or in adversity. The bible says, “Rejoice in the Lord always.”

You can be doing an activity that is supposed to be fun, and yet you are distressed. I’ve seen lots of people distressed over their families and marriages when family and marriage are supposed to be fun. I’ve also seen church leaders distressed over ministry. Ministry should be fun. The Lord told us to,” Come all who are heavily laden and I will give you rest.”

You know why fun becomes distress? Simple—you busy yourself with unimportant things—clutter and trash which you thought were essentials. You can only distinguish what is trash and what is treasure once you become less busy, think clearly and kick stress out of your life. Then you’re able to discern what’s essential and decide wisely. That’s simple stress management.

Stress Management

Stress management is really simple—be less busy and kick stress out. No kidding. It’s really as simple as that. But lots of people think they can manage stress while retaining their heavy work loads, their busyness. Well, being less busy does not mean you take out anything big and heavy from your life. It means weighing things carefully in your life and trashing the non-essentials and keeping what’s basic and essential. It’s pretty much like what Bruce Lee said about his JKD: Consider everything, incorporate what is useful and trash what is useless.

But the problem is lots of people do not know what is essential. Greatness, achievements, proving yourself, begging respect from people, winning, getting everything for yourself, collecting trophies—to many people these are essentials. And what they trash are the little things—free time, rest, relaxation, pondering, prayer and meditation, walking, doing what you love, talking about life and passions. To them these are wastes of time.

“I don’t want to waste any time!” they say. Sometimes, it’s a chant that hypnotizes them or invokes gods from the unknown.

“Wasting” Time

When I stand still and look afar for long periods of time, they say I’m “wasting” time. Actually, I learned this in my early years with Karate, reading the books of Master Masutatsu Oyama. We need these peaceful rests for body, soul and spirit health and to dismantle distress that has began to lodge deep in us. People who fail to “waste” time like this are bound to suffer the cumulative bad effects of distress later in life.

My dad used to sit in his favorite chair facing a big window looking out to the streets. He just sat there staring a far and pondering quietly. Sometimes he would smile, sometimes frown, sometimes he looked mesmerized. That’s how he lived to be 85 with a sharp mind. God had been good to him.

Daily, keep away from distress. Believe me, you don’t need it. Spending time with it is not productive, even if you accomplish a lot of things. Less Busy will be releasing more posts on distress—how to identify and resolve it the simple, all-natural way. So watch out for them.

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