A New Way of Looking at Stress

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By LISA SWAN

If you are feeling stressed out, think about this – stress can actually be good for you. Consider this – with absolutely no stress, we would find it difficult to achieve and grow and learn. Most of us have a friend, friend of a friend, or even a family member who has an adult child who has not yet grown up.

That Peter Pan-like figure lives rent-free off their parents’ earnings and has the same lifestyle as them, but does not actually work or achieve or do anything. And as long as the parents do not put stress on that adult child, that overgrown kid – who could be in their twenties, thirties, forties or even older – could literally live that way forever.

Now, is that a good use of a life? No, of course not. That person may not have any stress, but he or she does not have much of a life, either.

Of course, too much stress is not good for you, either. But the idea that stress in and of itself is always bad is something that just is not always true. Much like stressing your body can make you stronger – that is literally how muscles get more powerful – some stress can make you a better person. Think about it – when you feel a little pain after exercise, that is a good sign, showing that your muscles have been worked hard enough to get stronger. Without that stress on your muscles, you will never get stronger or more fit. So keep that in mind when thinking about stress.

Here are some ways stress can be a positive thing in your life:

Stress can help you bear down and get things done

“Stress is a burst of energy,” Dr. Lynne Tan, a psychiatrist at New York City’s Montefiore Medical Center, tells NBCNews. “It’s our body telling us what we need to do.” Without the stress of deadlines and obligations, why would we get things done when they needed to get done? Whether it be studying for an exam, or working to pay the bills, or taking care of your family, the stress can help you accomplish things more than just thinking about it.

Stress can help you be safe

The fight-or-flight mechanism of stress can help protect you and your family. If you feel that you are in danger, like walking in a scary neighborhood, that stress can help you be more alert to your surroundings, and less likely to fall for schemes or shenanigans.

Stress can help your health

Stress releases a hormone in your body called cortisol, which can help your body thrive in moderate amounts. Believe it or not, having stress before a surgery is better than being stress-free.

The problem becomes when you have too much stress in your life. So it is important to keep your stress at moderate levels. Seeing a life coach is one way to help manage stress.

 

 

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