Don't Stress it....or Maybe You Should


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         College is a stressful time in every student's life, this past couples of weeks have been filled with events and it's hard to get time during the day to just sit down and relax without having to do homework or anything else. With so many affects of being stressed out it's hard to believe that there is good stress. 
Edward Calabrese, Ph.D., a toxicologist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst says that there are positive aspects of dealing with short bursts of stress that easy up quickly. These short stress bursts would include situations such as being stuck in traffic or doing a presentation at work.
In a recent study at Ohio State University, mice that experienced brief but intense stress were able to better fight the flu virus. Some research has even proven that short-term stress is able to reduce risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's. 

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So why is this "good" stress able to come with all of these good perks? According to Women's Health Magazine, stress jolts you into repair mode. When you injure yourself, your body snaps to attention and starts to fix itself; it heals your injuries and improves your immune system to protect against infection. At first, stress produces hormones such as cortisol that causes havoc to your body tissues, when your body senses the damage from the hormones it immediately sends a small clean up crew to get your tissues back in shape. With stress that is short-lived, your body heals quickly and it still has enough energy to repair scratches and bruises.
Edward Masoro, Ph.D., from the department of physiology at University of Texas, states that low-intensity stress can actually help extend your life. Research has proven his theory by stressing out flies and worms by exposing them to heat, when they do this the worms and flies tend to live longer. Stress alone won't help you live longer, we all have to learn how to handle stress and then relax after. Our bodies cannot being the repair process if they're still tensed, only when we relax does our body take over trying to repair any damage. Mark Mattson, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging, says that "if stress is too severe or too prolonged, you're body will have no change to recover." Experts say that not all types of relaxation will help your body heal, this includes drinking away the stress while at a party or eating as much food as you can, it's better to relax with a book instead.
Debbie Mandel, a stress management specialist, says that the key to getting the benefits from stress is knowing how to manage it. These ideas are good to help you in the next coming weeks with finals and other events that will be happening around campus: a stress calendar, put yourself out there to try different things, focus on your accomplishments, step out of your safety zone,  and exercise.

3 Comments

Amanda,
I agree that a low amount of stress is healthy. Before taking an exam, going in for an interview, or doing a performance having these feelings can be a good thing. It makes most people focus on the task at hand. As you stated before a person needs to know how to deal with the level of stress they are feeling. I don't necessarily agree that stress allows you to fight sicknesses though. I have generally heard that if your feeling stressed it makes you more apt to experiencing sicknesses. This website provides more truth on stress and sickness.
http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/how-worrying-affects-your-body?page=2

I agree with you that some stress is good for you. I think that stress to an extent keeps you on top of things and keeps your mind alert and active. Without stress I don't think people would be able handle multiple things at once. But all depends on the person. You need to learn how to deal with the stress in your own way and know the amount of stress that you can deal with. This is a good article I found about good stress, and bad stress: http://www.ulifeline.org/articles/426-good-stress-bad-stress

When I started reading this blog, I thought there was no way that parts of it were true. Especially the part about how stress can increase the immune system. I know that when I am stressed over tests or something like that, I am more likely to get sick. However, the more I thought about this, I realized that stress is often coupled with low amounts of sleep and proper nutrition, which obviously has an impact on the immune system. That being said, I find it quite interesting yet logical that low levels of stress can actually improve our productivity and health. Thank you for posting this; definitely something to remember during the next batch of midterms!

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