Stress is usually viewed negatively, but it actually has some surprising benefits. Consider stress from a different perspective. Extreme and long-lasting stress won’t help you. However, some limited instances of short-term stress can be useful.
Consider these benefits:
1. Stress can help the brain.
• Researchers found that stress can make neural connections stronger and help memory. This applies to short-term stress and not long-term or severe stress.
• The study also found that short-term stress can help push the brain to an optimal condition. This means that the brain is forced to focus better and reach its highest potential.
• During the study, the rats’ brains improved because stem cells made new nerve cells. Scientists believe the same thing is happening in human brains under stress.
2. Stress can provide motivation.
• A looming deadline can make you stressed, but it can also force you to take charge of the situation. This provides the motivation to stop procrastinating and complete what is needed.
3. Stress can fortify resilience.
• The idea that stress can make you stronger is true. Researchers believe that surviving short-term stress helps build emotional and mental resources.
4. Stress can improve your immune system.
• The immune system responds to stress by going into active mode. Researchers believe this developed over time to protect humans. Evolution allowed people to stay strong and healthy under stress.
5. Stress can serve as a signal.
• If you feel you’re under constant pressure, take the time to reflect on your concerns about friends, family, work, and other obligations. Your stress could be telling you that some things may need to be adjusted, so you’re not overwhelmed.
6. Stress can strengthen your relationships.
• The hormone makes you feel like bonding with others and sharing your burdens. This can help you build stronger relationships with those you love. It can encourage you to share your troubles instead of letting them consume you.
There’s no doubt that living under constant, extreme stress is harmful. However, short-term stress has benefits. It can advantageously affect your body and mind in a variety of ways ranging from motivation to brain activity.
What benefits have you recognized that Stress offers?
Balanced in Stress,
Shayla Peterson, LCSW, LISW-CP