Lately it feels like I’ve been burning the candle at both ends. Between work, side hustling, and all my personal commitments, I’m starting to brink on feeling overwhelmed. This isn’t a new feeling for me, in fact I consistently keep my plate pretty full. I used to think I was just a glutton for punishment, however over the years I’ve realized that by keeping busy and maintaining a manageable level of stress, I’m actually more productive.
Research shows that certain levels of stress can actually good for us. Stress is believed to help boost your immune system, mood, and overall well-being. There are other benefits to stress, too. Below are three different ways that stress can benefit us.
Good Stress vs. Bad Stress
It’s important to note the difference between “good” stress and “bad” stress, otherwise known as eustress and distress. It’s easy to confuse the two because generally we regard all stressful feelings as negative. Eustress can be considered beneficial, and help with our motivation, focus, and energy. Distress on the other hand, can cause anxiety, decrease productivity, and cause mental and physical ailments. So, keep in mind when I talk about the benefits of stress, in general I’m talking about an optimal level of good stress.
Stress Can Improve Your Immune System
Research indicates that the immune system may benefit from stress, at least in short periods of time. This is due to the body’s release of extra chemicals, called interleukins that help regulate the immune system in response to stressors. The body prepares itself for injury or infection and temporarily boosts the immune system. This could explain why our body sometimes holds off illness until after a big event.
Stress Helps with Decision Making and Problem Solving
When we’re struggling with a big decision, sometimes stress can help give us the direction we need to move forward. This is because stress highlights what is most important to us. If we are worrying about something specific it has to be because it holds value to us. In this way, stress can help us tune in to our intuition and what we really desire to achieve.
Stress May Help You Earn More Money
Stress at work may seem like a negative all of the time, however an optimal level of stress at work that keeps you on your toes can have a positive impact on your career. This type of stress can keep your motivated, energized, and focused on your work. If you find you are too relaxed or unmotivated at work, it can be a sign that you aren’t pushing yourself enough or taking the initiatives and risks to advance your career.
Additionally, encountering and overcoming stressful situations can help you during future stressful situations. Eventually, rather than seeing a stressful situation as a problem, you can learn to view it as a challenge, and be more motivated to overcome it.
While optimal levels of stress can be beneficial to us, it’s important to note that too much stress can have a negative impact on our health and overall well being. When stress becomes overwhelming or chronic in nature, it’s time to reconsider, and possibly re-prioritize our goals and efforts.
How do you handle moderate levels of stress? Do you find it causes you to be more or less productive?