Some stress can be good! That is something we don’t often hear, however, it is true. The trick is to find your stress’s sweet spot that allows you to function optimally and efficiently, without letting it get too out of control to a point where too much energy is spent worrying and feeling anxious. On one end of the spectrum, extremely low levels of stress can cause insufficient amounts of daily arousal to give you the necessary oomph to work efficiently. It may make you feel bored or lazy, and can even lead to some incidences of depression. At this end of the spectrum, too low levels of stress can decrease attention and interest which can be dangerous as we take on our busy and action-ready lives. If this is the case, it may be beneficial to take on some more responsibilities, projects, hobbies, or skills to build up the necessary stress required for you to feel productive.
On the other end of the spectrum, however, where extremely high levels of stress are present, too high of stress hormone levels can cause cognitive issues such as memory complications, altered concentration and constant worrying, emotional issues such as irritability, moodiness and loneliness, and can even cause physical complications as well such as headaches, digestive problems and heart diseases. At this end of the spectrum, too high of stress can create a lot more havoc in our already busy lives than we need! If this is the case, it is important to get a healthy nights rest, find time to do something you enjoy, talk with friends and family about what is causing you worry and anxiety, and to practice engaging your mind on the things you can control instead of all the things we wish we could.
Back to the main idea: some stress can be good! Research conducted at UC Berkeley shows that with just the right amount of healthy stress in our lives, this can give us the ability to work efficiently and optimally without being too worried and anxious. They found that with this healthy middle ground, cognitive functions such as attention and memory can increase, allowing us to perform the best. With this being said, this middle ground is different for everyone, and it is important to recognize your emotions and feelings when trying to figure out your stress’s sweet spot!