A little stress doesn’t hurt

The surprising benefits of short-term stress

Everybody knows long-term stress can be unhealthy, leading to everything from heart disease to digestive problems, but what about short-term stress? In 2009, researchers from Stanford University took blood samples from 57 patients before and after a stressful situation—knee surgery. Patients with “positive stress response,” or higher levels of immune cells in their blood produced by stress hormones, recovered more quickly than those who did not display a strong stress response.

Turns out, the right amount of short-term stress helps people:

• perform at a higher level under pressure;

• improve memory and the immune system;

• activate brain cells, helping prevent Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Keep in mind everyone’s ability to cope with stress (short or long-term) varies greatly; it’s important to exercise, maintain a healthy diet, make time for meditation and appropriately prioritize tasks.