Embrace the Stress!
Posted: 9 April 2015 at 9:05 am | Author: Laura Morris
Arrggh too much to do? Not enough time? Don’t panic, embrace the stress! No I haven’t gone mad, stress can actually be good for you!
Stress is your body reacting to a particular situation; your body is filled with chemicals including cortisol and epinephrine and this elicits a fight-or-flight response. The release of adrenaline can cause your heart rate to increase and your metabolism to increase.
Frequently stress is perceived as having negative consequences and let’s be fair there are several known effects that stress can have, particularly if it is for an extended periods. Chronic stress can lead to depression, weight gain, insomnia and even trigger a heart attack. However there are also some lesser known positive effects of stress.
Stress can be constructive when brainstorming and help you to come up with more creative ideas. This is because when you are stressed you need to make a decision in order to resolve the stressed feeling. Not only are you likely to be more decisive but you may well have a different view point because if you are feeling calm and relaxed then there is no incentive to view things from an alternative perspective.
Despite the research demonstrating the negative effect of stress, did you know being stressed can actually boost your immune system? In one study, it was demonstrated that those individuals who experienced moderate levels of stress before undergoing surgery were able to recover faster than individuals who had low or high levels1.
Another benefit you can experience from stress is improved cognitive performance. Stress originated because it helped us to react appropriately to a dangerous situation such as evading a predator. Clearly this would be less successful if you are thinking about other things, consequently stress can help you to focus on your existing task. Other studies have also demonstrated that up to a certain level the increase in cortisone levels can increase memory and recall but if the level rises too much it can have damaging effects2.
Whilst there are negative effects of stress, it is important not to forget there are positive ones too. Training people to view stress as a positive thing can significantly improve job performance and health3.
Next time you feel stressed, channel this effectively and you may find that you can achieve far more than you first thought possible!
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