Fact Check: Is Stress always bad for your health?

Quick Take

A number of posts on multiple social media platforms create an impression that Stress is always a bad thing. Even the slightest stress will end up killing you. We have done a Fact Check on the same and found out the claim is Mostly False.

The Claim

There are multiple social media posts that claim that anybody with stress will end up being depressed and will finally end up being dead. A Facebook cause page has been created claiming “Exams should be banned; They give you stress and are bad for your health.” An archived link of the page is here and a snapshot can be seen below.

In multiple forums, we found concerned users constantly inquiring about whether stress is good or bad. Such posts can be seen here, here and here.

Fact Check

What is Stress?

US National Library of Medicine website MedlinePlus defines, “Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. But when stress lasts for a long time, it may harm your health.”

Is Stress always bad?

John Whyte, Former Chief Medical Expert and VP, Health and Medical Education at Discovery Channel, wrote, “Occasional stress can help keep you focused and improve your recall, which can be a plus when cramming for that test or preparing for an important presentation at work.” 

A review published in Pubmed in 2017 that studies “The impact of stress on body function”, quotes in its conclusion, “The beneficial effects of stress involve preserving homeostasis of cells/species, which leads to continued survival.”

That said, the review paper also mentions, “In many cases, the harmful effects of stress may receive more attention or recognition by an individual due to their role in various pathological conditions and diseases.”

We asked Dr. Puneet Jain, Clinical Psychologist on the same topic. He mentions, “Stress is not always a bad thing. It acts as a motivator. Without a little amount of stress in our lives, our daily performances will drop. However, it is necessary to keep a check on the stress level. If you feel that you are not able to handle the stress or it is going beyond your tolerance level, you should seek professional help.”

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