We have talked in this blog about different ways that stress is bad for you. And all that talk can probably make you more anxious and stressed. But worrying about stress isn’t always a good thing because being stressed actually has some benefits. So let’s change it up a little bit and answer the question, how is stress good for you?

Stress becomes a problem when we have suffered for a long period of time and we no longer have control over our circumstance, our in other words when it is chronic.

Researchers have studied ways that exposure to moderate amounts can actually make you stronger and better able to manage stress. Quite like the same way getting a vaccination, which contains a little bit of the bug, can actually make you immune. Richard Dienstber wrote a book on building stress resistance and he theorized that experiencing some manageable stressors and the receiving breaks can

  • makes us more mentally stronger
  • helps us become physically tough and
  • allows us to be less bothered by future stress

Some studies by Professors Seerys and colleagues at UCLA also concluded: “In moderation, whatever does not kill us may indeed make us stronger.” (Seery et al., 2010, p.1025).

Benefits of stress

So as we can see stress is not always bad for you, it is actually a normal function of the body. It is our bodies warning system that produces the fight or flight response. Think about it, when you are stressed about what to make for dinner, you don’t break done and do nothing, you are motivated to figure something out.

Here are a few ways short-term anxiety can actually be good for us.

  1. You may be better able to tolerate and adapt to life’s difficulties because a little stress can make you tougher.
  2. You may learn a new skill, such as patience, you can use later in life by going through some moderate stressors.
  3. You may gain confidence in managing stress, maintaining “if you faced something difficult in the past why wouldn’t you be able to face other difficulties”.
  4. You may be more likely to accept change.
  5. You may have a more positive attitude toward stress altogether, knowing how it may have helped us grow.
  6. Experiencing stress may help you to want to take reasonable risks, making you more like to reach your goals in life and relationships.
  7. It helps boost brainpower because manageable amounts of stress increase performance and alertness. Also, the growth of stem cells is encouraged which improves memory.
  8. A study conducted by a Stanford University School of Medicine scientist has tracked the trajectories of key immune cells in response to short-term stress and traced, in great detail, how hormones triggered by such stress enhance immunity.
  9. A 2006 John Hopkins study showed that pregnant women who experience mild to moderated amounts of stress had children her were born with better motor and developmental skills by the age of 2 than those who experienced no stress.

Though stress helps us survive, too much of it is still detrimental to the body. Chronic emotional stress or stress stays around for weeks or months can weaken your immune system and cause high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, anxiety and even heart disease. In particular, too much adrenaline can be harmful to your heart. Symptoms may include rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, anxiety, weight loss, excessive sweating, and palpitations.

Signals of Too Much Stress

Knowing the difference between good and bad stress may not always be possible, but there are warning signs when you are experiencing too much stress that you should look out for. Watch out for these following symptoms:

  • Inability to complete task, concentrate, feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritability
  • Body aches
  • Other illnesses flare up
  • Headaches
  • Trouble sleeping staying awake
  • Change in appetite
  • Avoiding others
  • More angry or anxious than usual
  • Frequent colds

What You Can Do

Though stress is an inevitable part of everyone’s life it isn’t something we have to stress about. There are ways to improve how you deal with stress and you can even remove some of the negative stresses in your life. By looking at the positive and understanding why you stress you can be better prepared for future stress and it can be easier to cope. If looked at in a positive way stress can be helpful and used as a growing tool that helps you mature.

Check out our article on managing stress for more tips.

If you have some experience with good stress, let us please talk about it in the comment section below. Sharing your experience will help others. Any feedback is always welcomed.

12 thoughts on “How is Stress Good For You? 9 Benefits of Stress”

  1. Many people say, “Knowing what I know now…if I had my life to do over again, I would do things differently and avoid the pitfalls that caused me stress and anxiety.”

    I say, “If I had my life to do over again, I would welcome the same experiences with gusto. Because, those experiences, some good and some bad, are what made me who I am today.”

    I would want to make the same mistakes, even though some caused me quite a bit of pain. And, I would want to experience the same stress and anxiety levels, even though some were quite extreme.

    To do otherwise, would have made me not as prepared for life’s challenges.

    This was a very interesting article, Melissa.


    1. Very deep Jim, but I agree! Can’t imagine who I would be if I didn’t experience what I experienced or If the stresses in my life didn’t help me grow into who I am today. I think looking at it from your perspective is a great way to look at it and it can help us get through it if we realize, our stress will help make us into who we need to be one day. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Good read and had no idea that stress can also be a good thing, I like the fact I can take somtning from this site although its catered for mothers, good content on here and very simple to read and informative also.

    That was a good read and very interesting points made on the subject, I am sure this will.help.more than just the mothers to look at stress in a positive light.


    1. Thank you very much for the kind words Dauda! Though my site was created with moms in mind, stress effects us all, so I hope everyone can take something from it. When I was younger, I didn’t always see things in a positive light but I have learned that is takes difficulties in order to learn some things in life. If you don’t go through a bad relationship, how else would you learn to avoid difficult people? Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. This is an excellent post. Revealing the pros and cons of stressful events is helpful to everyone but particularly important for moms with children at home. Every stressful event gives those moms an opportunity to show their children how to handle stress properly. When moms get anxious and angry, the whole family is affected.

    1. Hi Tanya, you are absolutely right! Children are little sponges and they soak up all our emotions and actions, so when we handle things incorrectly they take that into adulthood. So if we can learn how to handle stress properly and teach them it will go a long way. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. Stress is the kind of thing that you intellectually know you likely have, yet you go through your day, or life unaware of it. Personally, the stress I experience is so pervasive, I do not know what NOT having stress is like! The point when you really need to pay attention is when it starts to affect your health. Is there a point at which it is too late to do anything about it?

    1. Basically, the question is, can stress kill you? According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. Stress is also linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrom(IBS), I can vouch and agree that stress can cause it(at least in my opinion). As a kid, I was a big time worrier. I stressed A LOT, much more than a child my age should have. I was diagnosed with IBS at the age of 13. I believe I brought it upon myself, which is one reason I am so big on this subject. Stress is a part of all of our lives but it doesn’t have to run our lives. I say to you Judith, please take care of yourself and do everything you can to manage your stress, because it isn’t something to tolerate.

  5. Hi, Melissa! Thanks for sharing this!
    I know that stress sometimes can be good for us, but chronic stress is bad.
    Everything is an experience that can help us to become stronger, tougher and find ourselves. Stress, stressful events can teach us, so I believe that everything in life is good for us even, if it seems bad at first. It’s just an experience that can help to improve ourselves, become better. I can speak from my experience.:) Of course, feeling stress and anxiety isn’t great, but sometimes it is necessary. Anxiety and stress made me stronger, but at the same time, I don’t want to feel them again and never want to see people suffer from them. We need to look positively at everything and maybe laugh about feeling stress and take it easy. In that way, life is more beautiful.
    Thanks again, Melissa!

    1. I love your wisdom, Linda! You are absolutely right, I also believe everything in life is beneficial. Positive thinking leads to positive living. I don’t think any of us like pain but it is necessary to learn and change. Laughing at stress is a great way to change your perspective and help you move on. Thanks for sharing a positive light and reading this post!

  6. You make so many valid points for stress that reading your article relieves stress. I never thought fo stress in a positive way, so this is enlightening read for me. But, maybe you can answer this for me or point me in the right direction. For all the good stress can do, doesn’t it still comes down to the individuals ability to deal with this t?

    1. Hi Maurice,
      Great question! Here goes my opinionated answer…People cope with stress definitely. Some look to quick fixes like alcohol which then have a negative effect because they can make things worse in the long run. So even though stress can be good for you, like for instance, the stress of taking an exam can make you motivated on focusing and working harder, It still depends on the individual. Some give up when faced with adversities, some fight harder. Guess that is why they call it the fight or flight response. But….getting educated and understanding stress can give everyone the chance to have a more positive outlook on stress so that way when you face it you know what you are up against. I think our coping skills start in our childhood and our parents play a big role in that. So how you deal with stress may be how your children deal with it.

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