There is actually a term for positive stress, called eustress, which was coined by endocrinologist Hans Selye in the 1970s. It has been proven that stress in moderation improves cognitive performance and improves memory. Good stress involves the kind of challenges where we feel that we are in control and are accomplishing something. It boosts the immune system and can improve heart function. So eliminating all stress from our lives is probably not a good idea.
I have written about stress repeatedly here:
Do you consider yourself an optimist or a pessimist? When the going gets tough, the optimists among you can take heart—new research that has found that viewing stress positively can be of benefit to both the mind and body.
When the brain perceives stress (either physical or psychological), it reacts by releasing cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine to prepare the body for a “fight or flight” response. Fortunately for us, this response is not triggered in most people today as frequently as it once was or for the same kinds of reasons. After all, relatively few of us are in life-threatening situations on a regular basis. Today’s “modern” stresses are more likely to be caused by wrestling with the IRS, trying to escape a traffic jam or competing with a coworker for a promotion.
It is interesting to note that stress, in itself, is not necessarily a negative thing. It is…
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