Flipping the script on stress

A new study has found that there are some hidden benefits to stress
Stress(Source: WJRT)
Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 6:58 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 30, 2021 at 7:08 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - When thinking of stress, oftentimes the mind thinks of that tense feeling that takes over the body or something that could actually be harmful.

As it turns out, a little bit of stress could actually work in someone’s favor. When most people get stressed, they usually feel it in their body, and if someone is stressed too much, it could trigger some major consequences.

A new study has flipped the script on stress and discovered that there are benefits some people may not have even thought about.

Whether it’s the downward dog, child’s pose, or a little bit of namaste, yoga has been a huge help for Jamal Meritt to make it through the day.

“For me it’s, it’s helped me release stress and feel calmer,” said Meritt.

As life continues to move at a mile a minute, Tuesday night Yoga at Civic Park in Flint is where Meritt finds his zen.

“Yeah, so 2020 has been very difficult dealing with COVID and you know the loss of family members and the stresses that have been put on the community and having a way to relieve that, and get that out into the community to have different ways to relieve stress is always awesome,” he said.

It appears many people are taking on the stress since the start of the pandemic, but what exactly is stress?

The Cleveland Clinic says that it’s a normal reaction the body has when changes occur, resulting in physical, emotional and intellectual responses. A recent survey found more than 75% of adults in the country are experiencing symptoms in most of those areas, all related to stress.

“It can cause strokes, heart attacks, it can cause ruptures in the body in different places, it can cause a complete emotional breakdown, where it takes you months or even years to rebound,” said Dr. Kathy Barton Brown, a Flint-area psychotherapist.

She said now is the time to get stress levels in check.

“Stress can literally -- you could be here one day and you’re gone the next day,” Barton Brown said.

A Penn State University study found that there is a little benefit to having some stress in life. The study found that bad stress can lead to severe consequences in some cases, but there are times when stress could actually be helpful and most people aren’t even aware.

“The only way stress, I feel like stress can work in my favor is it, it makes me want to do yoga,” said Meritt.

That’s where Penn State researchers found the benefit of stress comes in, when it’s used as a motivating factor.

“It can push you into an uncomfortable zone to make you better, to pull out the positive attributes in you,” said Barton Brown. “So it’s good to understand this stress forces us to grow to stretch out and come out of a comfort zone. So that’s the other side of stress.”

Taking a deeper dive, epinephrine -- which is commonly known as adrenaline -- is the body’s response to stress. In a short-term stage, it can help with completing a task or problem solving skills.

“When you do have to deal with stress you literally become, you’re forced to become a problem solver. So if your computer break sown, you have to figure out how to get it going,” Barton Brown said. “If something goes wrong in your home, then you have to become the person to handle it.”

That’s how Marquita Adams, the owner of Harambree Wellness, channels her stress.

“The more chaotic my life is, the better organized because it forces me to plan, use my to do list and it forces me to be on schedule,” said Adams.

As a person dedicated to the overall health of people, mind, body and soul, her piece of advice for people who find themselves under stress good or bad

“Showing yourself some grace, understanding that life is not perfect, you don’t have to be perfect,” said Adams.

Experts say ideally people like to find themselves someplace in the middle of the stress level. Not too much, and not too little.

Research has found that long-term stress has been found to negatively affect every system in the body.

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