Health

Stress, anxiety aren't always bad, says study

ANI | August 11, 2019 12:45 PM
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Washington D.C. [USA], Aug 11 (ANI): While people find stress and anxiety as negative concepts but they can still play a positive role in our lives and people can scoop out the most of it, a new study has found.

"Many Americans now feel stressed about being stressed and anxious about being anxious. Unfortunately, by the time someone reaches out to a professional for help, stress and anxiety have already built to unhealthy levels," said Lisa Damour, PhD, a private-practice psychologist who presented the study at the meeting '2019 American Psychological Association Convention'.

Stress usually occurs when people operate at the edge of their abilities when they push themselves or are forced by circumstances to stretch beyond their familiar limits, according to Damour.

Anxiety, too, gets an unnecessarily bad rap, according to Damour.

"As all psychologists know, anxiety is an internal alarm system, likely handed down by evolution, that alerts us to threats both external such as a driver swerving in a nearby lane and internal such as when we've procrastinated too long and it's time to get started on our work," said Damour.

But Damour argued that viewing anxiety as sometimes helpful and protective allows people to make good use of it.

For example, she explained that she often tells teenagers she works within her practice to pay attention if they start feeling anxious at a party because their nerves may be alerting them to a problem.

From this, they can stay alert and keep themselves safe.

"Similarly, if a client shares that she's worried about an upcoming test for which she has yet to study, I am quick to reassure her that she is having the right reaction and that she'll feel better as soon as she hits the books, " she added.

However, this doesn't mean that stress and anxiety can't be harmful, said Damour.

"In other words, stress causes harm when it exceeds any level that a person can reasonably absorb or use to build psychological strength," she said.

"Likewise, anxiety becomes unhealthy when its alarm makes no sense. Sometimes, people feel routinely anxious for no reason at all. At other times, the alarm is totally out of proportion to the threat, such as when a student has a panic attack over a minor quiz," Damour added.

"If you are under the impression that you should always be joyful, your day-to-day experience may ultimately turn out to be pretty miserable," Damour said. (ANI)

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