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Can Stress Ever Be Good For You?

If you're stressing about the right thing, then yes!

Kelly McGonigal, lecturer at Stanford University and the author of the self-help book The Upside of Stress, suggests that we should all embrace the stress in our lives because it'll always be there, even when we're on the right track. Kelly says stress isn't necessarily a bad thing; it can even be a sign of something good.

We feel stress because we care about something and that thing is put at stake. So that means avoiding stress can be a sign that we've stopped striving to reach our goals and taking risks that might reap great rewards.

It's important though that we figure out what it is that we care about and value, what's put at stake, and why it's stressing us out. It's possible that we're distracted from our goals and caring about the wrong things, like what our officemates think about how we look. "When you start looking at why you're stressed," Kelly says "you either find meaning or have an opportunity to dissolve it." In the case of pleasing our officemates, we're probably better off dissolving that stress. But when it comes to doing extra work or trying ways on how we can be more productive and efficient, the stress that comes there should be borne. Kelly states, "Sometimes, when you're feeling stressed out, you literally have to say to yourself 'I'm stressed out because I care about my job.'"

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Once we've realized that we're stressed under the right circumstances, we'll have a better attitude towards stress. We can make it a springboard out of it where we can jump from to work better and harder. This positive mindset can even stimulate our immune system.

According to Kelly, stress can also deepen our relationships, especially when we prioritize our family, our partners, or colleagues. Because work is taxing on practically everybody, we might learn to appreciate our loved ones who've worked hard to support us, our partners we choose to value more (and who might value us more too), or our colleagues we constantly learn and grow from.

The most important thing to do (and our first step in properly dealing with stress) is to assess our goals and prioritiesassuming we've accepted its permanence in our lives.

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