Is stress improving your brain health?
It’s no secret that mental health and stress levels can have an impact on one’s physical health. However, short-term bursts of stress may benefit a particularly important part of the body.
A recent study found a correlation between low to moderate stress levels and strengthened memory. Although, the study did find that these benefits tapered as the level of perceived level of stress grew more intense, highlighting the benefits of acute, short-term stress as opposed to chronic stress.
“Not all stress is bad,” says Dr. Touwanna Edwards from Advocate Medical Group in Oswego, lll. “Stress is a built-in protective factor that keeps us safe from harm, and a small level of arousal can actually increase performance levels. However, as stress levels increase, performance begins to decline.”
If you’re wondering how to maintain a healthy level of stress, you’re not alone. The primary answer is understanding how your body reacts to stress. Dr. Edwards advises, “Everyone experiences stress, but some tend to be more susceptible to its effects. I suggest imagining one’s responsibilities as a whole pie. Consider the size of the slices to understand where your time is spent. Sometimes, we must decrease the size of the slices in order to find balance and decrease stress.”
While low to moderate levels of stress can be healthy in the long term, Dr. Edwards strongly advises against making life-altering decisions within 90 days of a stressful event. Take some time to process. Allow your body to regulate and return to its natural state.
The bottom-line: Don’t get stressed that you’re stressed. A little stress is inevitable. However, if you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, talk to your doctor, consider everything that’s on your plate and ensure you’re prioritizing your health first and foremost.
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