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Can Stress Be Your Friend?

According to famous endocrinologist Hans Selye, “Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.As much as we thirst for approval we dread condemnation. A man should not try to avoid stress any more than he would shun food, love or exercise

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Selye coined the interesting term “Eustress”, considered “Good Stress”. Eustress pulls us up from lethargy and inaction, excites us, challenges us, propels and inspires us to take constructive action. Eustress precipitates that action that helps us get from where we are, to where we want to be. It is eventually rewarding and fulfilling.

It is that challenging stimulus that stresses the individual but doesn’t deplete. The outcome is motivation, energy and a response to make some kind of beneficial action for oneself. Healthy rivalry and competition are examples of Eustress. The situations are stressful but they drive you to a positive action and outcome.

The controllable fear of an impending exam which makes you study more, and hence feel euphoria with positive results is good stress. When you are between a rock and a hard place and make life altering choices, for the better, that is good stress. Positive propulsion.

Its evil twin “Distress” is what we want to avoid. Distress wears us out, shuts us down, manifests as an ailment, and eventually kills us.

Distress is when we suffer from excessive worry stress and anxiety which is debilitating and not productive. It usually paralyses us and causes our system to shut down. Distress interferes with our daily function which is not helpful in any way. The outcome is negative.

According to research, brief bouts of stress have even been shown to enhance learning and brain function. This short-term stress isn’t around long enough to do much damage to the body and engages our natural, beneficial fight-or-flight response that we have for survival.

So next time your heart races and you feel “stress” it may be the devil in its good guise!


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