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JLeslie's avatar

What positive things have happened for you from being stressed?

Asked by JLeslie (54594points) April 23rd, 2014

Most people agree that stress is bad. Have you had any positive effects from stress?

I’m having a pretty stressful time lately. My emotions move between, sadness, anger, and mild anxiety.

I was thinking today maybe I can use it to lose weight. I don’t feel sick to my stomach, but I remember when I was younger these emotions would hamper my appetite. I wonder if I can reach back in my mind and find my smaller appetite.

I see a lot of people get skinny on the stress diet. Some people do the opposite though.

Maybe you clean your house? Finally book the vacation you always wanted to take? I don’t know all the possibilities.

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23 Answers

fluthernutter's avatar

Productivity. I work best under stress.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

I second that vote.

kevbo's avatar

There’s the obvious answer, which is that there’s a difference between good stress and bad. I thought the good was called something like “eurkayotic”, but that’s not right. If you look up “eustress” that’s more or less what I mean.

But (and you of most people here knowing a good chunk of
my story), the good thing that happened as a result of my significant period of stress is that the stress ran free and eventually burned itself out. I found something to supplant it, and now I don’t worry about a damn thing. More than that, I’m happier than I’ve been in a very long time. I guess it always is darkest before the dawn.

In your case, I would say it’s probably a good time to suss out who’s voice it is inside you that is emotional and why. It’s an opportunity to air out a pocket of feelings, give it it’s moment in the sun and let it dissipate of its own accord. Knowing you to some degree, I think it’s safe to say you’ve been carrying these things for a while now. How much longer do you want to carry them?

I just finished rereading a book that among many things talks about the possibility of being beholden to something of an inner brat. The brat is protecting a buried dream or desire or inclination that was somehow threatened or shamed at an earlier point in life (generally childhood). The book suggested having a written dialogue with that voice to find out what it wants and is protecting and to give it a hearing so that one can let it go.

I would suggest having a dialogue with the voice that is unhappy with your life and let it reveal what its problem is. You can do this by dividing a page in half lengthwise and using one side for your voice and another side for the unhappy voice. Ask it a question, wait for the answer to bubble up and then give it due attention (and write down the response you get.) (@susanc also taught me this technique). If emotions come up let them. Find out what this voice wants and then decide if those desires or demands are still relevant. It may give you useful instruction to make a change of some kind, or it may be old reactions to old issues that you can let go of once they see the light of day and are deemed not so important.

Wish you well.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

I get a move on with it whatever it is, otherwise I would go round in circles chasing my tail!

Haleth's avatar

Stress gets me into a cycle where I wake up with coffee, smoke all day to calm my nerves, and then drink a glass of wine at night “to wind down.” It makes me feel like a detective in a hard-boiled novel. If it’s a windy day, I might turn up my collar and pull down the brim of my hat. Walking around and thinking I’m a badass is seriously, like, the only benefit.

Unbroken's avatar

Actually stress has a very negative effect on the body and mind. Andrew Bernstein wrote a book about active insight… Actively finding and dismantling the thoughts that cause us stress. Which lead to greater productivity and free us enough to make healthy content decisions. I read his book which was a little repitive but he was trying to teach a skill. He has the worksheet on the site I gave you and some lectures posted on YouTube.

Scientists are catching up with what yogis, medicine men and shamans knew all along. Stress kills.… Just one article but there are a plethora more of them. My doctor said every time I let stress get to me I am weakening my body and could unchecked start a chain reaction causing a flare up of my autoimmune disorder. There are also books that explain what chemicals are produced and how the body shuts down when under pressure or stress. I read a particularly good one but can’t remember the name as it was a while ago.

On my reading list are some business books that I’ve started but not finished by the Arbinger Institute. They deal with conflict resolution and how to achieve optimum interactions with people but also touch on and are applicable to inner conflict. Very readable short books, narratives both of them.

Another book I want to read is martin Seligman’s book about positive psychology. A man who thought wow psychology seems to focus on what the negative let’s learn how the optimist the successful man thinks and what he does differently.

I hope you find a way to circumvent your stress.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I poop better when I’m stressed. Is that a positive?

Cruiser's avatar

Feb 10th 2011 I was so stressed from all that had happened to me over the last 6 months that it finally occurred to me that I was capable of anything and that I could do the job I had before me. All the stress then melted away and it has been downhill everyday since.

ucme's avatar

I have no time for stress, plays no part in my life at all.

kevbo's avatar

@Cruiser, I like that story. (I remember you’ve told it before.) It seems a similar end result to what I experienced.

Stinley's avatar

I’m afraid that the evidence is against you as stress is associated with weight gain.

I react badly to stress and try to keep away from things that stress me. I never have a good experience with stress!

Juels's avatar

I’ve yet to see any benefit. It keeps me up at night and distracts me during the day. Some days there is a constant panicky feeling that just won’t go away. It has never caused me to lose weight.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

When I am stressed, I clean. It relieves the tension for me, and the end result is a sparkling house, which is one good thing, at least.

fluthernutter's avatar

@Stinley I’ve actually done both. I think I gain weight when I’m depressed/stressed. And I lose weight when I’m high-strung/stressed.
(Probably because I’m running around being manically productive.)

On a related note, Germans have a word that specifically refers to the weight gained from emotional over-eating.

Kummerspeck literally translates to grief (kummer) bacon (speck).
Got to love those Germans.

AshLeigh's avatar

I usually end up exercising when I’m stressed. And I write better poetry under stress.

talljasperman's avatar

I got put on disability from stress ,and I can take better care for myself now that I have time to relax.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, it was no fun at the time, each time, coming out the other side, I was a little stronger than before, and more confident in my ability to handle things in the future. I learned nothing was ever as bad as I thought it was going to be.

I made pro and con lists regarding whatever was stressing me out. It helped put things in real perspective.

LornaLove's avatar

I start taking an inventory of myself. I note down the way I perceive situations, how I could look at them differently. I work out ways on how to deal with the stress. I become more careful about what I eat, if I sleep okay. I also start to do more meditations, yoga and I talk more about what is bugging me.

DigitalBlue's avatar

I do tend to burn a lot of nervous energy, I move more, I get things done, I am a pacer and a fretter, stress makes me move and I tend to be more productive.
Hope things calm down for you soon.

Bill1939's avatar

When I am faced with a demanding obligation, such as memorizing lines for a play or preparing the Treasurer’s Report for the foundation I am on, I find that I will procrastinate until distress from the imminent deadline becomes unbearable.

However, I totally agree with @kevbo‘s response. I looked up Hans Selye in Wickipedia and found that János (Hans) Hugo Bruno Selye called negative stress “distress” and positive stress “eustress”. I do not know when he first used the term eustress in his books “The Stress of Life” (1956), “From Dream to Discovery: On Being a Scientist” (1964) and “Stress without Distress” (1974), however it is not in my computer’s dictionary, The American Heritage Dictionary copyright 1974. Perhaps this is because he was an Austrian-Canadian endocrinologist of Hungarian origin.

cookieman's avatar

In 2007 I experienced chest pains while at work. After three days in the hospital, they determined it was “just stress”.

Soon after, I resigned from the job — which I should have done much earlier.

Paradox25's avatar

The only thing good I can think of here is that stress, maybe extreme stress more so, can motivate you to change your current situation for the better.

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