It is set in the mind of a human being that stress is a negative factor that lacks any positive outcome in the life of a human being. Have you ever imagined living a life without stress? Not thinking about how the future will be or not being worried about completing certain activities you are tasked with. Life would be awkward. Every human being faces stress and handles the same differently. The effects of stress are not only negative but also positive. This paper will discuss the effects of stress and the benefits of stress. Research shows that despite the negative toll stress might have on an individual; it also has positive effects such as being a motivating factor towards the development of purpose and also improves brainpower.
Benefits of Stress (Good Stress)
Most individuals perceive stress as awful and something negative that they dread to experience. Stress is a condition that could be life-threatening. However, most people never consider the possibilities of such stress having a positive outcome. Stress for instance influences purpose development in individuals. When an individual is stressed about a particular subject, they are motivated to work towards eliminating the stress and therefore achieve purpose development. A study by Gutowski et al (2017) shows how stress can influence purpose development in youths. The study explored how psychological stress influences the development of purpose on the youth of color living in low income, urban communities. Participants were asked to write in their own words how stress influenced them. The qualitative study showed that individuals faced vocational, academic, family, and financial stress among others. The result showed stress as a motivator for the youth to develop a purpose in that they felt pressure from the expectations of those they treasured and they developed a purpose through the desire to escape factors that created the stress.
The American Psychological Association shows that overall stress levels in the country have not changed. The annual Stress in America survey shows that most American is stressed over issues facing the country such as elections and healthcare issues. The survey showed that 7 in 10 adults state healthcare as a major stressor. As of 2019, 71% of adults in the survey stated the increasing mass shooting as a major cause of stress (American Psychological Association, 2019). Stress levels in the country are high and therefore viewing a positive side of the same would help individuals develop a purpose in relation to the stressors. It is hard to avoid certain stressors that we face. However, when guided in the right direction, individuals can direct the stress of building a purpose that will make their lives better.
Stress has another benefit of helping improve the cognitive capability of an individual. An article published in the University Hospitals shows how stress helps improve brainpower. The right kind of stress improves the health of an individual (Baldridge, 2019). However, the stress has to be in the right amounts and the exposure has to be for a certain period. Doctors show that the brain thrives on a routine. Stressors give the brain something new to do or think about. Constant stress with solutions could, therefore, improve the cognitive capability of an individual. A study by Lin et al in 2018 showed how stress could help improve the brain performance of individuals. Participants in the study were exposed to acute stress which made them tense. The participants under stressful conditions gave quick and accurate responses compared to those not under stress. The explanation for the outcome is that during stressful conditions, the brains learn to pay more attention which results in better memory and higher brain working capacity while performing tasks.
Stress is uncontrolled could be a bad thing. However, in the field of psychology, stress could be good or bad. Good stress positively affects the individual as seen above and vice versa. Stress has benefits to individuals as it helps in the development of purpose as individuals try to meet expectations or eliminate the stressors they face. Another benefit of stress is that it improves cognitive capabilities and memory. It improves brain functioning as individuals under stress are constantly kept on their toes. The brain pays more attention when under stress, therefore, enhancing performance. Few studies have researched on the positive side of stress: It is, therefore, important to create awareness of the benefits that stress could have and work towards attaining such benefits when faced by unavoidable stressors.