Feeling Really Stressed Out About Work Can Actually Be Good For You
I'm just going to take a shot in the dark here and guess you don't have the best relationship with stress and anxiety.
If you're anything like me, you associate those feelings with eating too much sugar, losing sleep and snapping at co-workers, friends and your SO.
But according to a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, there's actually a benefit to that specific kind of stress you feel when you're feeling uncertain about the outcome of something, like waiting for someone to text you back.
For the study, researchers divided participants into two groups. Throughout the study, they were given mild shocks while they played a video game in which they had avatars that lifted up rocks to see if there were snakes under them.
Half the participants knew, after a certain amount of time, they would get shocked, regardless of whether there were snakes under the rocks they turned over, and the other half were in the “uncertainty” group and got shocked only if the rocks their avatars picked up had snakes underneath them.
Because the game was difficult, not knowing when they would be shocked raised the stress levels of participants in the uncertainty group.
But, it wasn't all bad. Even though the uncertain participants were more anxious, this anxiety seemed to make them better at navigating the game and figuring out which rocks had snakes under them.
In other words, feeling stressed and anxious due to uncertainty might increase performance on certain tasks.
This is a small study, of course, and more research needs to be conducted before we can draw any serious conclusion from it.
But among all the bad stuff we hear about stress — it makes you fat, it's bad for your heart and it damages your relationships, to name a few — it's good to know there might be a silver lining.
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