Little stress a day good for your brain
Some people report feeling no stress at all, but there may be downsides to this feeling of feeling always super-charged, say researchers
Some people report feeling no stress at all, but there may be downsides to this feeling of feeling always super-charged, say researchers.
The study showed that people who reported experiencing no stress were more likely to experience better daily well-being and fewer chronic health conditions. However, they were also more likely to have lower cognitive function, as well.
According to researcher David M. Almeida from Penn State, the study suggests that small, daily stressors could potentially benefit the brain, despite being an inconvenience.
"It's possible that experiencing stressors creates opportunities for you to solve a problem, for example, maybe fixing your computer that has suddenly broken down before an important Zoom meeting," Almeida said.
"So experiencing these stressors may not be pleasant but they may force you to solve a problem, and this might actually be good for cognitive functioning, especially as we grow older," Almeida added.
According to the researchers, a large number of previous studies have linked stress with a greater risk for many negative outcomes, like chronic illness or worse emotional wellbeing.
But Almeida said that while it may make sense to believe that the less stress someone experiences the more healthy they will be, he said little research has explored that assumption.
For the study, published in the journal Emotion, the researchers used data from 2,711 participants for the study.
Prior to the start of the study, the participants completed a short cognition test.
Then, the participants were interviewed each night for eight consecutive nights, and answered questions about their mood, chronic conditions they may have, their physical symptoms -- such as headaches, coughs or sore throats -- and what they did during that day
After analyzing the data, the researchers found that there did appear to be benefits for those who reported no stressors throughout the study, about 10 per cent of the participants.
These participants were less likely to have chronic health conditions and experience better moods throughout the day.
However, those who reported no stressors also performed lower on the cognition test, with the difference equalling more than eight years of aging.
Additionally, they were also less likely to report giving or receiving emotional support, as well as less likely to experience positive things happening throughout the day.