Eustress: 11 Surprising Benefits Of Stress

surprising benefits of stress

Stress is something we really can’t escape. Our emotions towards tough situations act as indicators to help us recognize problems in our everyday life. It is normal to experience stress, especially before an important event. But have you noticed that sometimes being stressed out motivates you to work harder?

While most believe stress causes various health issues and unrest in the body like insomnia, weight gain and increased blood pressure levels. But, moderate levels of stress isn’t that bad. In fact, if you’re good at stress management, you might even receive benefits from it.

Stress Is Good!

According to Clinical health psychologist, Dr. Lindsay Bira “Our brains are wired for stress. We have evolved to have a fight-flight-freeze (FFF), it is a system that is activated when we find ourselves in a situation of threat and it induces stress.

Richard Shelton, MD, vice chair for research in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alabama Birmingham has a similar perspective about the fight-flight response. He believes that this response is not necessarily a negative thing. It is merely there to protect us, not harm us. However, when our levels of stress become unmanageable and chronic it can start to affect our wellbeing.

So yes, it is true that stress can create an unhealthy effect on our minds and body. But despite all the drawbacks, it may have a few benefits too. This is referred to as Eustress. Like Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal said, “embracing stress is more important than reducing stress.” So, it is upto us how we utilize and manage our stress.

Eustress: 11 Surprising Benefits Of Stress

11 Surprising Benefits Of Stress

1. Stress can improve your brain power

According to a study, under specific circumstances, stress can actually help to improve our memory (McEwen and Lupien, 2002). To this statement, Daniela Kaufer adds how “Manageable stress increases alertness and performance. And by encouraging the growth of stem cells that become brain cells, stress improves memory.

So if you are able to manage your stress and not allow it to overpower your senses, then you could apply it to stimulate the generation of brain chemicals known as neurotrophins. They help to improve the connection between neurons in the brain. This research also indicates that a moderate amount of stress is actually good for you and can help to improve behavioral and cognitive performance, boost memory, and alertness. 

2. Stress boosts problem-solving abilities 

Yes, it is true that stress generates health problems, but it also impairs problem-solving skills or creativity among individuals. Are you familiar with the saying, “I work better under pressure.”? Why do you think people say that?

For some people, stress makes them nervous and often leads them to make silly mistakes or generally under-performing. While some thrive and work better under pressure or stress. It increases their focus and concentration.

A recent study led by J. David Creswell from Carnegie Mellon University claims that self-affirmation can improve problem-solving in stressful situations. So, if you don’t want to make sloppy mistakes and increase your productivity while you are under stress, try some self-affirmation strategies like meditation or relaxation of the body before you start working.

3. Stress improves the immune system

“Stress is bad for you”, have you heard this like a zillion times from friends, family, even doctors? And yes, they certainly are right, chronic stress deteriorates our minds and body, it has long-lasting effects but as we discussed earlier short-term stress which is also known as the fight-or-flight response of the body can stimulate immune activity.

Yes, it’s true and there are research findings that provide a thorough analysis of how stress hormones affect the main cell sub-populations of our immune system and how they may help to fight infections or heal wounds.

Related: 11 Holistic Hacks To Reduce Stress And Anxiety

Eustress: 11 Surprising Benefits Of Stress

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