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6 Ways Stress Can Be Healthy

So stressed you might punch the next guy who pisses you off? Bad idea. Instead, sooth yourself by reading about these surprising health benefits of being put under pressure.

IT SPEEDS UP YOUR ABILITY TO THINK.
Experts say that if you put someone in a stressful situation, the speed at which their brain processes information increases. Stress is “a signal to the prefrontal cortex that this situation is something worthy of paying attention to,” says Alvaro Fernandez, author of The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness. So basically, if you want your brain working sharp, you need a few stressors—or tight deadlines—to help you do it.

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IT ENHANCES SPORTS PERFORMANCE.
The human body is designed to optimize function under acute stress — think running away from a saber-toothed tiger, for example — which is why we up our game when the competition is most stiff. “It’s a great example of how the body responds to challenges in our world,” says Achor. “If you are playing basketball in a high stakes game in a playoff, the brain is working at its optimal level. You're more alert and better focused, plus the fight-or-flight response may also boost your strength and stamina.”

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