6 Surprising Ways Stress Can Make Your Life BETTER – YourTango

So often we think of stress and anxiety as something that is bad, uncomfortable, and at worst hurtful to us physically and emotionally. But this doesn’t have to be the case. For Stress Awareness Month, I wrote about how to rethink stress, and why we might want to. Recent science has shown that not all stress is bad – and bursts of stress can actually be good for us, boosting memory, our immune system, and our resiliency. Yes, stress really can be a good thing – read on to learn some surprising ways stress can make your life better.

It seems we’re a stressed out nation, and research definitely indicates that stress levels are on the rise. Data analyzed at Carnegie Mellon reveals that people experienced a 10-30% increase in stress over the last 30 years.

 Of course, doctors remind us often about the negative effects of extreme stress, but, if we’re honest—in our culture, we wear “stress” like badge of honor.

We know we need more balance, but we also live in a culture that expects stress to accompany “worthy” pursuits or activities. And therefore, it’s only once we hit total stress overwhelm that we begin looking for ways to check out, to reduce our stress, to make it go away. At that point, we just reach for anything that takes the edge off—alcohol, relaxation techniques, calming exercises, even nutritional supplements.

But numbing out or trying to make stress entirely go away isn’t ideal for us either. Why? Because stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Of course avoiding chronic levels of overwhelming stress is important. But some stress in your life is actually a GOOD thing.

Let’s be real, stress in life isn’t going away anytime soon, so the only thing you can do is change how you handle it and what you do with it. So a better goal is learning to harness stress adaptively. It’s time to start managing stress in a way that serves you!

Here are six amazing benefits of mastering the art of being positively stressed:

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Proud to have this article syndicated to Care2 April 6, 2015 Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 7.10.29 PM


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Alicia H. Clark, PsyD