Can stress be good for you?

According to the American Psychological Association , chronic stress can negatively affect your health. But not all stress is bad for you. In fact, having a strong sense of purpose that pushes you along can help you, not only be more successful but also improve your overall well being.

Here are five ways stress can benefit your brain and body.

1. It pushes you to reach your goals.

Stress can act as a motivator in certain circumstances. Just think about that looming deadline at work. Recent research  shows that stress can actually help you manage situations rapidly and more productively, all by adjusting your mindset. So start viewing stress, not as a roadblock, but as a way to get the job done.

2. It helps you fight illness.

When your body responds to stress, it actually prepares itself for the possibility of injury or infection. Studies show  that acute fight-or-flight stressors can help immune cells act more quickly and efficiently to regulate the immune system and give you a defensive boost when you need it most.

3. It can increase resilience.

Over time, learning to deal with stressful circumstances can help you adapt to life-changing situations. In fact, a University of California San Francisco study  found that moderate levels of stress can actually enhance your ability to overcome adverse situations.

4. It builds brainpower.

According to a recent study , acute stress stimulates the production of chemicals that strengthen the connections between neurons in the brain. That same part of the brain is also linked to learning and memory, so your body’s response to stress can increase your ability to recall information for a quick memory jolt.

5. It helps childhood development.

Moms-to-be tend to put a lot of emphasis on eating well and exercising to have a healthy pregnancy. But what about stress? While high levels of stress can be harmful to unborn babies, a Johns Hopkins study  found that mild-to-moderate stress levels during pregnancy actually contribute to greater developmental skills in children. That’s one less thing to worry about!

Author: Bright Health

November 22, 2016