Stressing out over stress
Did you forget that April is Stress Awareness Month? Then maybe you need a little stress in your life.
New research suggests that some stress improves memory and mental performance.
That’s probably not what the medical community had in mind when it singled April out as Stress Awareness Month. The more popular view of stress is negative: It can impair memory and increase the risk of chronic obesity, heart disease and depression.
While Dr. Charles O’Dowd of Nyack Hospital in New York was putting together tips on how to reduce stress for an article in “Medical News Today,” Drs. Daniela Kaufer and Elizabeth Kirby at the University of California, Berkeley, were determining that stress can be good for you.
You’re probably feeling confused by now — maybe stressed. Then you have to wonder, “Does this additional stress I feel because I’m confused help or hurt?”
Relax if you can. (Actually, that’s one of Dr. O’Dowd’s stress-reducing tips.) The stress to be avoided is chronic stress. The stress that pushes you to optimal alertness is acute, temporary stress.
Dr. O’Dowd’s advice to exercise regularly, make time for friends and laugh is still good advice.
And Drs. Kaufer and Kirby’s findings are good news for people who inevitably deal with additional stress from time to time.
The question is how much stress is beneficial, and finding the answer could be stressful in itself.
Just make sure it’s temporary.