How to use Stress in your favour?
The not-much-known facts about stress!
Stress is a part and parcel of our modern life. Anybody likes to be stressed out? Obviously a big NO, isn’t it? We have been told that it is unhealthy and would do harm to the body. However, we are stressed many times in life even though we don’t want it! Often it is viewed negatively but there are a few facts about stress that always goes unnoticed.
According to Richard Shelton, MD, Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alabama Birmingham, “…getting worked up isn’t always a bad thing. After all, the body’s fight-to-flight response is meant to be protective, not harmful”
Are we giving too much of importance to stress? Ask yourself. Meanwhile, let us look at what other scholars opine on stress.
Dr. Pamela Peeke (Sr. Science Advisor for Elements Behavioral Health) says that “the whole point of stress is to be able to help us survive, and that is the fight and flight response. She also says that “it helps us literally stay alive. According to her “what stress does is it keeps us on our toes, it keeps us energetic, it keeps us engaged.”
Do you know a little stress may also benefit the brain? As per Elizabeth Kirby, a postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University, brief surges of stress can also be tied to improved memory function, as long as the emotion doesn't become a prolonged issue.
"Stress hits your brain all over -- the entire brain pretty much can respond to stress in different ways," she said. "The biggest difference (between good and bad stress) is the duration.
In short, it becomes toxic when it gets used exotic! So, how we can use stress in our favour?
Stress actually has some surprising benefits. Consider stress from a different perspective. We have seen that extreme and long-lasting stress won’t help us. However, some limited instances of short-term stress can definitely be useful.
Consider these benefits:
1. STRESS BOOSTS THE BRAIN.
A study, titled “Acute stress enhances adult rat hippocampal neurogenesis and activation of newborn neurons via secreted astrocytic FGF2,” found that stress had an interesting impact on the brains of rats. Researchers found that stress can make neural connections stronger and help memory. Low level stressors stimulate the production of brain chemicals called Neurotrophins and strengthen the connections between neurons in the brain. (Neurotrophins are a family of proteins that induce the survival, development, and function of neurons. They belong to a class of growth SENSEs, secreted proteins that are capable of signalling particular cells to survive, differentiate, or grow). This applies to short-term stress and not long-term or severe stress. The study also found that short-term stress can help push the brain to an optimal condition. This means that the brain is forced to focus better and reach its highest potential. During the study, the rats’ brains improved because stem cells made new nerve cells. Scientists believe the same thing is happening in human brains under stress.
2. STRESS GIVES MOTIVATION.
Good stress, also known in the scientific community as eustress, may be just the thing you need to get the job done at work. Stress can force you to reevaluate deadlines and motivate you to take actions to achieve your goals. A looming deadline can make you stressed, but it can also force you to take charge of the situation. This provides the motivation to stop procrastinating and complete what is needed and required. Eustress can also help you enter a state of “flow,” a heightened SENSE of awareness and complete absorption into an activity, according to research from psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
3. STRESS FORTIFIES RESILIENCE.
It can make you more flexible and understanding. The idea that stress can make you stronger is true. Researchers believe that surviving short-term stress helps build emotional and mental resources. Dealing with stressful situations and circumstances can make future ones ‘easy to deal with’! Dr. Shelton says “it’s the idea behind Navy SEAL training, although you can certainly benefit from less extreme experiences, as well. “Repeated exposure to stressful events gives [SEALs] the chance to develop both a physical and psychological SENSE of control, so when they’re in actually combat they don’t just shut down,” he says.
4. STRESS IMPROVES IMMUNE SYSTEM.
A study titled “Stress-induced redistribution of immune cells - from barracks to boulevards to battlefields: a tale of three hormones,” found that stress can actually help the immune system. Short-term stress can make immune cells jump into action. The immune system responds to stress by going into active mode. Researchers believe this developed over time to protect humans. Evolution allowed people to stay strong and healthy under stress. STRESS GIVES WARNING SIGNAL. If you feel your body and mind are under stress, then it’s time to assess and analyze your life. It can be an indication that now you have to slow down and be ready for a change. It can also be a warning before a serious health issue or a life emergency! Remember, if you feel you are under constant pressure; don’t forget to take your time off to reflect on your concerns about friends, family, work, and other obligations and liabilities in life. Your stress could be telling you that some things may need to be adjusted, so you are not overwhelmed.
5. STRESS STRENGTHENS RELATIONSHIPS.
Stress makes the body release oxytocin, a hormone, which can help you feel more connected to others. The hormone makes you feel like bonding with others and sharing your burdens. This can help you build stronger relationships with those you love. It can encourage you to share your troubles instead of letting them consume you. There’s no doubt that living under constant, extreme stress is harmful. However, short-term stress has benefits. It can favorably affect your body and mind in a variety of ways ranging from motivation to brain activity.
Now Stress in your favor! Most things we have in this world have two sides, good and bad. Remember, stress too so!
Create FRIENDSHIP with your STRESS from now on!!