Stress is mainly seen as a negative aspect in your life, and that nothing good can come from it. Luckily for us, it really isn’t like that!
Just like anything in life, having too much of something isn’t healthy. It is because of this that stress gets a bad name. It is simply because most people let their stress levels get to high, or keep them up for too long that we attribute a negative image with stress.
This is what we call chronic stress, the only bad kind of stress there is really.
In small and short duration doses, stress can actually have many benefits, not only for your physical self, but also for your intellectual capacity.
I am of the opinion that small to medium doses of stress should be embraced, rather than shunned. They teach us a lot, and as you will see they carry with them many benefits in life!
1. It Makes You Tough
I am sure you can agree with me that whenever you want to advance in life, whether that is getting a promotion or learning a new skill, we experience large amounts of stress.
It is often this stress that can keep us from achieving what we want. Therefore we have to ensure that we are resilient to this kind of stress.
It will come to no surprise that the best way to build resilience against stress, is to go through stressful situations. It’s like a muscle, the more effort you put in, the stronger it becomes.
Moreover this helps build confidence. If you have survived extremely stressful scenarios, you will know you are capable of that kind of work. So when you are faced with a similar situation, you’ll know you are capable. This has countless benefits for your overall health.
Simply put, successfully navigating stressful moments will build resiliency and toughness, which are crucial if you are looking to build long-term success!
How can we ensure we become tougher ?
The main idea here is to make you realise how you develop over time. Think about past events that have been very stressful for you. Remember how you overcame those moments!
Now, have you been in a similar situation recently? How did you tackle it this time? Where there any differences?
Chances are you tackled the problem much more efficiently and effectively!
Try and pay attention to such things as you progress in life. When you fully understand your progress, you are able to benefit more from it and also advance it even further! That is the real definition of real progression.
2. It Helps With Your Motivation
In recent articles about stress, I have already talked about this phenomenon. Being stressed about something can increase your motivation to work at a solution for whatever it is you are stressing over.
To explain this, I will use an example from my personal life. I am, at the time of writing this article, a masters student at university. During my exam periods I have noticed this strange phenomena come into play.
I will give you two scenarios.
During my exam period, I usually have between 3 days to a week in between consecutive exams. Now in the first scenario, I have 7 days between 2 exams. In the second scenario, I have just 3 days!
Now, in which scenario do you think I am able to do more work for my exam?
The answer might surprise you, but the total effective work I do is almost identical between the two scenarios. This might sound strange, but it actually has quite a logical reason behind it. As you might have guessed, this reason is all about stress.
Having 7 days for an exam is just too much time. The exam is simply so far away, that I do not feel stressed about it at all. I ensure that I study for it, but I take my time with what I am still trying to review.
This means that in those 7 days, I will have done all the work necessary to pass my exam.
However, when my time is reduced to simply 3 days, I get the exact same amount of work done! Instead of taking my time, I have an increased work capacity and study efficiency. This is simply because I am stressed that my exam in just a couple of days.
I cover the exact same materials in 3 days as I do in 7 days. I have noticed I study more efficiently, and I am also able to study longer without tiring and burning out!
How can we make use of this in our daily lives?
I will not recommend that you wait just a few days before the deadline to actually start working. That is just a recipe for disaster!
In my exam example, I have already studied everything for those courses during the year. I am simply reviewing that which I have already learned!
What I suggest to do instead, is to set intermediate personal deadlines. They don’t have to be official, but you have to hold yourself accountable for them.
If you are able to do this, then you can make use of the stress enhancing your motivation to work. For particular difficult tasks, this method really helps speed up the progress you make towards them!
Get in the habit of setting personal deadlines for tasks, I am sure you will use your time much more efficiently!
3. It Enhances Your Ability To Reason
Stress affects the body in numerous ways, it can even affect the chemicals in our brain!
Low to medium stress levels have the ability to release a brain chemical called neurotrophins.
These neurotrophins have the function of building and strengthening the connections between neurons in our brains. This is essentially our ability to reason and think logically.
These brain chemicals are one the reasons why we can be so productive after exercise. Exercise, like running or going to the gym is a physical stressors, hence it helps release neurotrophins!
They also help with our memory, as well as many other brain functions!
It also partially explains the phenomenon in the previous point. Because I was under so much stress, I was simply able to reason better, be more productive, and memorize information faster. This allowed me to dramatically improve the use of my time!
The best way to make use of this, is to once again set internal deadlines for yourself. Make sure you are working under healthy doses of stress, because chances are they will make you work much more effectively!
4. It Boosts Our Immunity
Similar to the last point, stress releases another type of chemical, called interleukings. This chemical has been shown to give a boost to our immune systems.
In turn this helps us fight off infections and diseases. Especially in this day and age, it is necessary to have a good immunity! Therefore experiencing low to medium doses of stress certainly isn’t doing you any harm in the pandemic!
I think it is important to stress that high levels of stress, also known as chronic stress, is not healthy. In fact, this actually has the opposite effect of everything I have just mentioned.
Chronic stress is a massive burden on our body, and often time it saps away energy from us and lowers our immune response. This makes us more prone to catch a cold or the flu, as our body simply isn’t fighting these viruses as effectively as possible.