Stress & the garden of life

Posted on May 3, 2011


I failed miserably at having a break between courses and am now embarking on a Sports Psychology Diploma. You can never have enough strings to your bow after all.

So … lesson one and I’ve already stumbled on a really interesting point. This …

In 1976, Alderman & Wood identified the seven major motives for participating in sport. One of these is STRESS.

In other words … we participate in sport because we want stress?


The opportunities for excitement, tension, pressure and action that sport can provide are all branches of the stress-tree.

But at the same time, we often do sport to relieve ourselves of stress.


Don’t be because stress comes in two main guises.

Turns out the stress that Alderman & Wood identified is EUSTRESS … a new word in my dictionary. Eustress is positive stress, the kind that is healthy and fulfilling. It is the process of exploring potential gains.

The pre-fix Eu- derives from the Greek word meaning ‘well’ or ‘good’.

The stress we alleviate with sport on the other hand is bad stress or DISTRESS … stress like dealing with deadly deadlines and bad boyfriends.

What needs to be remembered though is that both can be equally taxing on us and that physically, our bodies cannot actually decipher between the two. They are also both cumulative by nature.

So … to the extent that you can, embrace EUSTRESS and ditch DISTRESS … but when it comes to any STRESS, go easy on yourself because we need both:

“Even too much sunshine can be devastating as only with rain can growth occur. Accept both as part of the growing process in the garden of life.” Donald S. Neviaser

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