Happiness: the Upside of Stress

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Anxious about last-minute holiday preparations? Worried about all that one-on-one time with the fam? Stress away.

A study published this month in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science found that, despite how it seems, stress isn’t all bad. In fact, researchers found that those who dealt with moderate lifetime adversity maintained a more stable sense of well-being than those who never faced difficult situations.

But that’s not to say that living an overwhelmingly stressful life or suffering traumatic events is beneficial. Too much stress can wreck everything from our blood pressure to our complexions. Striking a balance between stress and relaxation seems to be the key.

Researchers say that the study results are important in understanding resilience, your ability to deal with challenges. The study suggests that managing stressful situations may be rooted in the same resilience that makes us better at everything from sports to algebra. In other words, practice really does make perfect… or at least resilient.

So next time you find yourself heading into that endless cycle of worry, think about the fact that you’re building resilience–making yourself stronger and better able to cope down the road.

Another way to deal with stress? Schedule some quality worry time in to your day. Seriously. In another study, published in The Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, researchers found that setting aside 30 minutes each day to worry helped people to manage stress. The study suggests that by having a set time to worry, people naturally worry less throughout the rest of their day.

Source: Women’s health