Hear us out here: Stress can be bad — we totally get that — but short-term stress might actually be good for you. Not the anxiety-inducing, sleep-preventing stress that affects your body right to your core, but that tiny flip-flop you get when you’re approaching a deadline (procrastinators thrive on this feeling). Short-term stress is not only good for you, but without it, life would be dull. Embrace stress with the following five benefits in mind.
It makes you strong
When you’re faced with a stressful situation, your body releases hormones that evoke a fight-or-flight response. Since fleeing out the front doors when faced with a big presentation at work is not an option, the fight chemicals will give you the energy and focus you need to get the job done. In small bursts, stress can also give your immune system a boost.
It’s a powerful motivator
The kind of stress that comes when you are faced with a last-minute deadline gives you an instant boost in energy, making it possible for you to block out distractions and morph into work mode. For a lot of people, without that deadline-induced panic provided by stress, nothing would ever get done. While too much stress is no good, such as being stuck in a job that you’re not particularly happy with, it can also be your motivation to make a big change.
Life would be boring without it
As appealing as it is to picture an uncomplicated life, things would get dull pretty quickly without the drama and anticipation inspired by a healthy dose of stress. Stress keeps you challenged, alive and connected to others. The alternative would be monotony and complacency.
It reminds you of what you’ve accomplished
Literally. Short-term bursts of stress can actually improve your memory and cognitive function, so remind yourself of the good work you’ve done and feel proud of it. You can also use this stress-induced brain boost to your advantage to complete other tasks efficiently.
It teaches you something
Was this a temporary burst of stress with a positive outcome, or have you felt overwhelmed from all angles for awhile? It’s important to evaluate the source and nature of your stress. While short-term, high-pressure situations can make life interesting, energize you and test your limits, long-term stress can have opposite, unhealthy effects. Gone unchecked, an enduring sense of tension can suppress the immune system, take its toll on your eating and sleep habits, affect your relationships with others and lead to depression and chronic illness. Take note of your limits with stress and when it starts to feel like to much, it’s important to deal with it by speaking to a friend you trust or even your physician.