Stressed Out? That's Ok - Some Stress Is Good For You!

  • A new study suggests that stress may not always be bad for you
  • People who reported a high level of stress did show an increase risk of dying, but it wasn’t necessarily the case for everyone with stress
  • The risk of premature death was 43% higher for those who believed stress had a negative affect on health
  • Equally stressed people who didn’t consider that stress harmful wound up with the lowest risk of death for anyone in the study

How someone views stress can affect their response to it. Those who have a negative view of stress will respond with their heart rate increasing, which will cause “blood vessels to constrict,” which is linked to cardiovascular disease. But if someone views their stress response as helpful, those blood vessels stay relaxed. The effects can also be seen in the brain, with those who see stress in a positive light producing smaller amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which can be harmful if there was a lot present. The brain can also increase levels of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, known as the "anti-aging" hormone, which can protect against damaging side effects of stress.