Situations When Anxiety Can Actually be Helpful
For most of us, stress is an unavoidable aspect of life. But despite the claims that stress is bad for health, there are times when it can actually be useful. Richard Shelton, the vice chairman of University of Alabama’s Department of Psychiatry, says that anxiety often triggers the fight-or-flight response in our brains which can be beneficial in many ways and is meant to protect us from harm.
The problem begins when we take too much stress too often, to the point where becomes a chronic disease that we can’t control, plaguing our everyday lives. But here are 5 situations in life when you shouldn’t worry too much about being anxious. It turns out that a bit of short-term stress can be beneficial for your mind and body.
When You’re Nervous
We’ve all suffered from stage fright at some point in our lives whether it is performing in front of a large crowd or taking at a conference. Public speaking is one of the most common fears, and some people have even admitted that they are more scared of it than death!
But the physical symptoms you experience when speaking in public such as sweaty palms, shaky voice and fast heartbeat are quite similar to how you would feel when you’re excited about something. Researchers even say that telling yourself than you’re excited instead of nervous can alleviate some of the symptoms and switch your brain to an approach mode. This can increase your mental sharpness and boost your confidence so that you feel less scared.
When You’re Trying Something New
When you’re about to dive out of your comfort zone and try something new, you’re bound to feel nervous about the outcome. Most of the time we’re afraid of failure, but you can use this fear as a motivational force to excel in whatever you’re doing.
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says that a little bit of stress can actually put you in a ‘flow state’ which heightens your productivity and creativity. To reach this flow state, it’s important to take on a task that is challenging enough to capture your full attention but not overly complicated since it can have the opposite effect and leave you feeling frustrated and mores stressed.
When You Want to Improve Your Health
Stress isn’t good for your health, we’ve all heard that. Although it’s true that getting worked up too often can have its consequences in the long term but the right amount of stress can actually boost your immune system, according to Stanford University’s researchers who conducted a study on rats to demonstrate promising results for those who get occasional bursts of stress in life.
The study also showed that short-term stress can actually mobilize immune cells and release them into the blood stream which automatically improves immunity against infections.
When You Want to Improve Brain Functioning
Too much stress can block our ability to think freely and creatively, which is why most organizations focus on creating a stress-free work environment for their employees so that they are able to perform their absolute best.
But what about low levels of short-term stressors? According to a study, stress promotes the production of a brain chemical called neurotrophins which is necessary for the survival and longevity of neurons. Short-term stress also pushes our brain to reach its optimal potential, enhancing memory and learning ability. The same is also true for short bursts of physical activity which positively impacts the brain’s ability to focus and function properly.
When You Want to Build Mental Strength
Researchers say that chronic stress can have serious oxidative damage of our cells’ DNA and RNA structure which eventually leads to poor immunity against fighting disease and faster aging. But short bursts of occasional stress can actually increase the cells’ immunity against oxidative damage by building the body’s psychobiological resilience. A study conducted in UCLA compared people who had faced different levels of adversity in life.
The results showed that those who faced moderate amount of adversity had better psychobiological resilience and overalls sense of well-being than those who either had no history of adversity of people who faced too much adversity in their past.
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