Stress and its benefits

Whenever we talk about stress, the emphasis is almost always on negative effects of stress on the body. The common perception is that negative feelings such as anxiety, anger, frustration, burn out and the like are the only effects of stress on health. But what is stress? Stress is the body’s reaction to the physical, psychological and mental challenges and demands that you encounter in life. It is a normal physical response to situations that you feel threatened about or events that upset your balance in some way.But can stress have positive effects? Is there such a thing as positive stress?

Eustress is a type of stress that affects your activities in a positive way. It is a type of positive stress that affects you in times of creativity, physical activity and excitement. It acts as a support for your motivation and inspiration to finish certain tasks. Eustress boosts your creative thinking when completing something that you have to do. It also lifts your spirits and helps you stay in a good mood. Hence, eustress is a positive stress because it provides the desired balance by evening out the negative stress that you may experience in your day to day life.

Eustress can also actually help you get rid of stress. How does it help? Since eustress is a positive stress, it allows you to look and consider many of the stressors in your lives as challenges instead of threats or difficulties. Eustress helps you keep a positive frame of mind. Thus, you get the energy to handle your stressors without being overwhelmed or unhappy.

All these positive effects of eustress help you minimize the chances of developing physical and mental ailments, thus keeping you healthy. Some examples of situations where you experience eustress are as follows:

• Joy in experiencing a roller coaster ride

• The happiness of having a new baby

• The excitement of buying a new car

• The pride and excitement of winning a game

• Getting married

• Getting a promotion or a raise in your job

Flight or Fight Response is another type of positive stress which was discovered by a Harvard psychologist, Walter Cannon. It is also called the acute stress response. The fight or flight response is your body’s primitive, automatic and inborn response that prepares your body to decide on whether to face or walk away from a perceived harm or threat to your survival. In other words, when you feel that there is a significant threat in front of you, your body instinctively prepares you to respond according to the situation in order to keep you safe. This response is highly associated to your brain called hypothalamus. When this part of your brain is stimulated, it initiates a sequence of nerve cell firing and chemical release that prepares your body for either fighting or running to survive from danger or threat. As such, the fight or flight response does not only warn you of external physical dangers but also of perception of danger, which is a powerful tool for reducing stress. In other words, the fight or flight response also allows you to perceive your anxiety and other negative feelings as a threat or danger and helps you to be motivated to do something about it.

Indeed positive stress have positive effects in our daily lives.

• Positive stress helps you gets things done and improve your life by giving you the proper motivation and inspiration to act in a positive way.

• It can save your life by allowing you to respond or react in the best way that will keep you away from threat or danger.

• Stress keeps you alert to rise and face challenges and changes that you encounter in your daily lives.

Stress is not always bad. Positive stress makes you productive and effective when faced with certain challenges. Thus, in understanding stress, it is also important to consider the positive effects of stress in your life.

by Maria Cecilia de Guzman,



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