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7 Surprising Health Benefits of Being Stressed

Photo by mimagephotography from Envato Elements

1. Stress may increase your brain power

If a stressful period or event doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger. As strange as this statement may sound to you, stress can increase brain power. In a recent study, some researchers placed rats in a short-term stressful situation (they were closed in their cage for several hours), and the experience actually doubled the growth of new brain cells.

The same rats also did better on a memory test later on. The researchers assume that the same thing happens in people—manageable stress can improve alertness and performance. “When we experience stress, we have an increase in arousal, which signals to us that something important is happening,” explains Bethany Teachman, PhD, a professor of psychology at University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

“If we appraise the situation as challenging but manageable, then the arousal helps us focus and direct effort toward addressing the challenge. Think about how difficult it is to give a good presentation or performance if you feel no arousal at all.”

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