Before I founded Uncommon Camellia I became a licensed professional counselor. Much of the approach I take to business ownership and wedding coordination is influenced by my training and experience as a counselor. This blog is what you need to know about stress in order to manage it during your engagement.
Good Stress vs. Bad Stress
Let’s start by clarifying the word stress. There are two kinds of stress, eustress, and distress.
Eustress is the good stress that motivates you to reach a goal, to get out of bed, to pursue things in life. Stress is a great motivator because it’s like an incentive to get things done. Everyone needs a little bit of stress in their life in order to continue to be happy, motivated, challenged and productive.
So remember this, all of the stress related to your wedding should be in this category of eustress.
Stress becomes bad when it feels intolerable or difficult to manage. At that point, it is no longer considered eustress, but instead distress. And truly, wedding stress shouldn’t ever fall in this category, yet so many couples are feeling distressed as they plan.
Tension builds, there is no longer any fun in the planning. Couples who get to this point say things like “I’m so ready to get this over” or “We should have just eloped.” This is the kind of stress most of us are familiar with. Most people would never say they are under “good” stress. Because distress is the only type of stress they have every considered.
While eustress can motivate us and help us do great things, distress is the opposite. It interferes with our decision making, hinders our ability to build relationships, and lessens our interest in taking care of ourselves.
An easy way to remember this:
Distress is Draining
Eustress is Energizing
Eustress fuels the adrenaline that wells tears in your eyes when your fiance first sees you from down the aisle. Eustress drives you to prepare meticulously the unforgettably romantic and poetic vows even when you are dead tired, overloaded with work, and really wanting to just binge on Netflix and drink wine!
Eustress motivates you to forgo what you want now for what you really want later. It’s about the long game.
And again, wedding stress should be Eustress.
“The opposite of happiness isn’t sadness – it’s boredom”. – Timothy Ferriss
If the opposite of happiness is boredom, it’s clear why we are constantly adding “stressful” things to our lives. Every change in season, every holiday, every celebration, every single thing new thing that we do stops us from becoming bored and unhappy. Life is meant to be full of eustress. Without the eustress that comes with life, there just isn’t any happiness.
Here’s What to Do
Sometimes your body reacts to eustress as if it is distress. And if you want to be that calm, stress-free engaged person, you’ve got to get a handle on that for sure. You’ve got to recognize what your body is doing and if its not working in your favor, well use that amazing brain and tell it to do something else! Here’s how.
Know the Difference
Believe it or not, just knowing the difference is going to make your stress easier to handle. Just knowing that there are two types of stress eustress and distress will actually start reducing the control you give to unwanted stress.
Change Your Language
But that isn’t enough. You must also change your language when you talk about wedding stress. When someone asks you “How are the wedding plans going?” You can either say “Oh my gosh it’s overwhelming, there’s so much, I ready to just get married!” That lets others and your brain know you are under distress. It paints the picture that you are overwhelmed and having difficulty managing the lever of stress you are experiencing. Your brain then starts to react to this message. It’s under distress, so you may start to feel that stress physically.
But there is another option. There are other truthful answers to the question “How are your wedding plans going?” Try this, “Oh Gosh, its been fun, lots of decisions, lots of excitement, and I’m doing my best to cherish every moment.” Of course, when you say that you are sending the right signals to your friends but more importantly to your brain. Your telling your brain that you are experiencing eustress and you can handle it. You are recognizing that this stress is good, it is wanted, it is healthy.
You can actually just say it to yourself, this is good stress, I’m glad I have it, I can handle it and even enjoy it.
Talk To Someone About It
If you’ve reached a point of feeling distressed, and you haven’t had success with your normal ways of coping don’t be afraid to see a therapist y’all. Getting married is actually one of the biggest life stressors. So be kind to yourself and get the help you need to enjoy your engagement, and keep your stress in the eustress category!
Hire Good Wedding Professionals
I want to leave you with one final piece of advice on reducing your wedding stress. Make sure you are hiring people to help you in the areas you most need it on your wedding day. Do not give in to the temptation to do things yourself at the expense of your own happiness! And hire people that you genuinely like. You are inviting these professionals to share in one of the most important milestones of your life.
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