Being stressed too often is never a good thing, but a recent study on Medical News Today says that short periods of it may in fact help the brain create new stem cells.
Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley conducted several laboratory trials with mice on the effects of intermittent stress.
They found out that when levels of the stress hormone corticosterone rise for a limited amount of time, the production of brain cells in the hippocampus (the part of the brain that controls short-term and long-term memory) also increases, which then leads to memory improvement.
However, the changes won’t be apparent until after two weeks. "In terms of survival, the nerve cell proliferation doesn't help you immediately after the stress, because it takes time for the cells to become mature, functioning neurons," lead study author Daniela Kaufer explains.
"I think the ultimate message is an optimistic one. Stress can be something that makes you better, but it is a question of how much, how long and how you interpret or perceive it," she adds.
(Photo by Angelo Gonzalez via Flickr Creative Commons)