Stress is a handmaiden of modern life. But it is possible to convert stress-building thoughts into stress-busting ones
POSITIVE STRESS?Though the word abounds in negative connotations, stress need not always be harmful. Like if you were to win a crore on the popular game show Kaun Banega Crorepati, your epinephrine levels may shoot through the studio roof. But this stress response would purely be one of joy. And prior to winning the jackpot, you might have subjected your body and brain to massive stress by burning the midnight oil cramming knowledge at short notice. But this stress would be extremely motivational in character.
So is there something like positive stress? Well, yes and no. It depends on whom you're speaking with! And how they perceive stress.
"Anything that takes you away from the quality of existence is stress. I don't believe that a person needs stress to perform well. A stressed-out individual will not be able to perform well. It's like being constantly driven in life," emphasizes Sukhdeepak Malvai.
Says D.D. Rajdev of Fibcom India: "One has to take stress in a positive way. There has to be some stress in life to motivate you so that you put your best foot forward. But I'm not talking about the kind of stress that breaks one down. There is something like positive stress."
"Some amount of stress is good as it drives you. But if it can't be handled beyond a point, it's negative. I personally need some amount of stress. I need the challenge. Or else I end up procrastinating," laughs Anandi Iyer of GTZ.
"Yes, some stress is good. For example, the stress students feel before examinations helps them study better and pass," agrees hypnotherapist Santhosh Babu.
Although the word is normally thought to have negative implications, it need not always be so. All stress doesn't cause immuno-suppression. Studies show that specific stressors actually increase host resistance to some pathogenic organisms, besides augmenting certain immune responses. Research indicates that the stress-induced, immuno-suppressive properties of adrenal glucocorticoids are counterbalanced by the stress-induced increase in prolactin and growth hormone.
In lay terms, it means (i) resistance to infectious diseases is not always reduced by stress and in some cases is actually and in some cases (ii) stress can augment a number of immune responses. Possibly, this change may be a natural physiological response that maintains homeostasis and resistance to disease during long-term, adverse situations.
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