In my 30 years of professional experience as an analytical chemist, toxicologist, microbiologist, professor, speaker, specialist in natural medicine, and consultant for large companies, I decided to complete my doctoral degree specializing in stress management at the University of Toronto, Canada, in 1995. Since I was working at the time as a professor, it was a stressful event, but as I look back 11 years ago, I managed to complete all the degree requirements in less than three years on a part-time basis, which is a record at the university. In a rapidly changing, fast-paced world and competitive environment, thriving under pressure is vital for wellness and success. I am going to share with you useful, practical ways to transform your distress into success.

Stress is a neutral term that can mean eustress, “good stress,” or distress, “bad stress.” The goal of stress management should be to achieve “balance wellness,” which means to reduce distress while increasing eustress.

A stressor is any demand on our minds or bodies, positive or negative. A distressor is any demand resulting in harm to our minds and bodies. Distressors may be too much or too little arousal in harm to mind and body. These are common examples of distressors in our modern, fast-paced society:

1. psychological distressors due to work, family, work commute, social relationships, changes, decisions, emotional issues, anger, and guilt
2. physical distressors due to chemical or environmental factors, pain, disease, aging, and daily wear and tear.

It is important to note that awareness of stressors can itself be a deterrent to turning them into distressors, according to Dr. Hans Selye, a Canadian pioneer in stress research. Knowing what hurts us and how we perceive it has an inherent curative value.

The practical way to minimize psychological distressors is to anticipate, monitor, and regulate common distressors and be aware of interpretations and perceptions of distressors. Examples of signs of distressors are headaches, depression, anxiety, edginess, irritability, a churning stomach, trembling hands, fuzzy thinking, poor concentration, poor memory, tight shoulders, back problems, panic attacks, high blood pressure, dizzy spells, heart problems, arthritis, ulcers, low energy, increased conflict at home and work, feelings of joylessness, low self-esteem, feeling stuck in a career, and a loss of interest in sex. Escaping from distress through alcohol, drug use, gambling, overeating, and smoking can have serious psychological and/or physical consequences.

We can transform distress habits that cause “imbalance illness” into wellness habits to achieve total balance.

• Time management wellness habits: Maintain control over one’s time to minimize hurry; balance work, play, and solitude; and minimize boredom and stagnation.
• Physical wellness habits: Sound nutritional practices; regular exercise; adequate sleep; proper eating habits (reduce caffeine, soft drinks, alcohol, and food additives); drinking plenty of water daily; deep breathing; and maintaining a saliva pH of 7.4 (since alkalinity correlates with balance, while acidity correlates with imbalance).
• Environmental wellness habits: Awareness of the state of the environment at work and home as well as the global environment as related to indoor air, exposure to toxins, and social responsibility to protect the environment.
• Emotional wellness habits: Laugh often; smile more; give and receive hugs daily; do not sweat the small stuff; experience being more proactive rather than reactive; practice meditation and daily relaxation; learn Neuro-Linguistic Programming; try biofeedback; practice self-hypnosis; learn progressive muscle relaxation; perform visualization and the ability to experience the preponderance of positive over negative emotional states.
• Social wellness habits: Practice empathy, active listening, caring, and compassion for others; enthusiasm; share intimacy; friendships; be a servant heart; set realistic goals and expectations from family and friends and accept criticism gracefully; live in the moment and achieve permanent inner peace by focusing on your deep breathing and mediation daily. The more acts of kindness you give, the more you will receive and feel fulfilled.
• Intellectual wellness habits: The ability to think clearly and independently; unquenchable curiosity; and lifelong learning. Stay away from the news on the radio or TV, particularly the first 10 minutes after rising and 10 minutes before going to bed.

When you reach the wellness zone, you will feel self-actualized, intuitive, full of humor, competent under pressure, and a sense of serendipity and synergy. You will be at peak performance and feel optimistic about the future.

Having the ABCs (a positive mental attitude, proper belief, and a solid commitment) is essential to transforming any distress into success. Create your own life since you are the master of your own destiny.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit

Author's Bio: 

Dr. George Grant is a renowned, multitalented scientist and former professor who specializes in nutritional and environmental medicine. He is the coauthor of seven books, several published research articles, book reviews, international conference presentations, and hundreds of public speaking engagements across North America. Dr. George Grant is an active professional member of seven professional organizations in Canada and the United States. He is a licensed analytical chemist, food/nutrition scientist, toxicologist, and microbiologist and is a consultant for several international firms. Dr. Grant recently received the Leading World Intellectual award from the International Congress on Natural Medicine in Nassau, Bahamas. Dr. George Grant participated in several studies, including ADD, fibromyalgia, prevention of heart disease, stress management, multiple chemical sensitivity, and indoor air quality problems. He is listed in the International Who’s Who of Professionals. Please visit