Health experts tend to emphasize how harmful stress can be when it comes to your emotional and physical well-being. Many people develop chronic stress, often referred to as negative stress, after repeatedly facing stressors that leave them feeling cornered. This type of stress can be detrimental to your immune system.
However, not all stress is bad. Positive stress, or “eustress” can actually strengthen the immune . Examples of eustress include riding a roller coaster, going on a first date, or traveling somewhere new.
The key to whether stress helps or harms you lies in your approach to managing stress. Below, we’re presenting four major benefits of eustress, according to Health Coach and Arootah’s Director of Wellness Relations, Elaine Moen.
1. It Strengthens Emotional Connection
When you’re stressed, your brain releases a neurohormone called oxytocin. This hormone sends signals to the mind and body to emotionally connect with others. This connection can help you manage feelings of loneliness and contribute to the regeneration of Furthermore, the act of forging connections and exhibiting care towards others plays a pivotal role in how you manage your emotions over time.
2. It Reminds You That You’re Adaptable
The stress that emerges from an intrinsic drive to do better, achieve your goals, and unlock your fullest potential can empower you to cultivate resilience and can enhance your sense of motivation. Additionally, it can exhilarate you as you engage in meaningful endeavors that align with your aspirations. In essence, the stress that stems from this internal motivation also serves as a reminder that you’re crafting a successful and fulfilling future.
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3. It Makes You Physically Stronger
Certain types of exercise will put your body under stress. Paradoxically, this stress increases your strength, enhances your well-being, boosts your self-assurance, and improves your energy levels.
Under these circumstances, your body experiences a stress reaction called the “fight or flight response,” also known as the sympathetic response. This type of response was evolutionarily designed to ensure your protection. It gears you up to effectively face challenges or threats by heightening your alertness and readiness to act.
However, it’s crucial to note that you shouldn’t put your body under this kind of stress for long periods of time. By varying your physical activities, you can prevent subjecting your body to the same stress patterns repeatedly. This strategic approach protects you against potential negative impacts while allowing you to reap the benefits of physical stress on your own terms.
4. It Encourages You to Change Your Narrative
There’s a common misconception that stress is inherently negative, which leads some people to believe that feeling stressed is an indicator of dysfunction. However, it is possible the stress you’re currently experiencing is a catalyst that propels you toward embracing challenges, stepping out of your comfort zone, and fostering personal growth.
Remember, it’s not the circumstances themselves but rather the perspective you adopt that makes a difference in your life. You can thrive while managing stress if you make an effort to do so; ultimately, this is also much healthier than avoiding it.
The Bottom Line
You have the power to choose which kind of stress you allow into your life and how you integrate it into your daily routine. The key is to identify and separate good stress from bad stress. When you learn to channel stress positively and mindfully, you can live a more sustainable life and inspire others to do the same.
Need help changing your mindset around stress or developing self-care habits to manage stress? Learn about Arootah’s health coaching services and book a free consultation today.