What is stress? Hans Seley famously known as the “father” of stress research was the first man to define stress. He expressed stress as the body’s nonspecific response to a demand placed on it. His explanation of stress majorly covers all forms of stress that is, mental, psychological or physical stress. Seley managed to give a breakdown of stress as both positive stress and negative stress, both of these forms of stress has both positive and negative impact on the functionality of an individual. It is imperative to understand that not all forms of stress have negative impacts on the health of an individual, many people have brought out clear ideologies explaining the positive effects of stress (Marchant, 2016). In this paper, we are going to have an outlook on the positive effects of stress, critique each one of them, and finally, we can assess if the arguments proposed are valid or not.
The positive aspects of stress are
Positive stress is one known as eustress and is one that gives one the drive to achieve more in life; it drives ambition in people to improve their quality of life, for instance, to ask for a pay raise or even take a trip for the holiday. Generations for centuries have always defined stress as synonymous to problems (Allen & Annells, 2009). Stress has for a long time known to impair our decision-making abilities. Anxiety and depression are key characteristics of stress. On the contrary, scientist have come up with ways in which one can change their mindset and see the positive effect of stress. The positive effects are inclusive of physical and mental health improvement. Every emotion that we have as human beings is there for a reason, stress is one of these emotions, what matters most is the perspective you look at it from. In a way, stress has its positive effects that is much ignored by many people as we dwell much more on the negatives that we do not realize the positive streams of a stressful situation (Evans, 2013).
How can stress actually be a good thing?
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Psychologists and scientist researching stress have concluded that stress has an effect on motivating individuals towards achieving their set goals. Psychologists explain that one can view stress as a positive thing, one should look at it as a push towards the tackling of the stress factor. Regardless of one’s situation, he/she can be able to take that stressing factor as a motivation towards ridding themselves off that stressor. Looking at the stress factor as eustress one can get into a state of heightened mental awareness. Stress helps one to go about trying to rectify a problem or challenge facing them at that point in time (Gibbons, Dempster, & Moutray, 2008). Stress helps one to strategize, plan out their activities in a bid to create a solution that would permanently solve the impending danger lying ahead.
In a big way, the stressful situation leads us to focus on finding the solution that would solve the situation we are going through. I would gladly agree with the opinion that stress can be a positive thing. Taking into consideration where you have to raise a big amount of cash to save yourself from the auction of your house due to defaults in mortgage payments. This situation can be stressful mentally, physically and emotionally; one has to take this stress in a positive light (“Good Stress, Bad Stress”, 2016). Thinking of the situation as a mental challenge one can develop a narrow focus into solving the problem at hand. This helps the individual focus into developing the best and most efficient solution to the problem at hand. Taking a highlight of this station tells one of the positive effects of stress, it can make you open doors you never expected you would and unlock abilities you never thought you had. This can be an enlightening moment in someone’s life.
Taking an academic situation, when a student needs to sit for an exam that will have future repercussions such as entry into university education. In many cases, it is important to understand that our mental capabilities are usually underestimated. When one is stressed about a certain mind blogging activity, they end up learning more about it. As the individual continues to research on the matter, his/her mental state keeps improving. Stressful situation enables one to learn more about themselves and acquire more knowledge. Stress helps the brain to focus on what is important, the priorities at the time (F. Mello, 2013). Stress helps one focus on a narrow and single challenge. In the case of academics, a student learns new concepts, conceptualizes them and even finds ways of explaining the phenomenon or even manipulating the theories to suit certain principles. It is important to acknowledge that stress in a big way contributes to the booting of the cognitive functionalities of the individual.
In other cases, stress has been shown to improve memory and recall. While studying or revising for an exam a student’s ability to grasp and recall the study contents increases overtime. During stressful moments, there is a high secretion of cortisone from the pituitary glands of the brain (Hamza M. Abdulghani, 2011). This hormone is perfect for the development of the brain activity, but too much of cortisone has an adverse effect to the brain as it can cause damage to the hippocampus. It is then valid to say that stress not only contributes to negative effects such as highly blood pressure, depression, and migraines, but it has a positive effect to the cognitive functions of an individual’s brain. Maintaining a sober head would greatly help in reducing the negative effects of cortisone hence helping an individual reap more out of the situation they are going through at that point time.
Adrenaline is one of the hormones released when one is under pressure. This brings up the flight or fight theory. The body charges up, and it is at accelerated state, the heart beat rate is usually increased while metabolism rates are usually above the roof. The body at any point in time is ready to issue fast and well-coordinated reflexes and reactions (Knowlton, 2014). At this point in time, the endurance level of the body is heightened which can help the individual to survive more than the body could take at a relaxed state. A bit of stress is important to give one a split second knee jack reaction, which in any case can be of use in defending yourself or even sprinting energetically in an athletic event. This kind of stress is always short term; it should never last for a long time which can lead it to a feeling of fatigue (Marchant, 2016). In the long run, endurance developed by the body can give a beating to the body by reducing its immunity to diseases.
It is important to factor this point in; stress can be a short-term or a long-term feeling. Depending on the situation the physical state of the body can be improved or dampened for that matter. It is important to consider that positive effects of stress are not as much as the negative effect of stress (Grodsky, May, & May, 2013).