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NEWSWEEK Cover: Stress Could Save Your Life (Or at Least it's Better for You Than You Think)
Date:2/15/2009

In Some Circumstances, Stress Can Be Good For You; 'Most People Do Their Best Under Mild To Moderate Stress' Says Psychologist

Stress Evolved To Help Us Survive; In The Short Term, It Can Energize Us

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NEW YORK, Feb. 15 /PRNewswire/ --- In the past several years, a lot of us have convinced ourselves that stress is unequivocally negative for everyone, all the time. But what's often overlooked is a common-sense counterpoint: in some circumstances, it can be good for you, too, reports Senior Writer Mary Carmichael in the February 23 Newsweek cover "Stress Could Save Your Life" (on newsstands Monday, February 16). As Spencer Rathus puts it in "Psychology: Concepts and Connections," "some stress is healthy and necessary to keep us alert and occupied." Yet that's not the theme that's been coming out of science for the past few years. "The public has gotten such a uniform message that stress is always harmful," says Janet DiPietro, a developmental psychologist at Johns Hopkins University. "And that's too bad, because most people do their best under mild to moderate stress."

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090215/NYSU005 )

The stress response -- the body's hormonal reaction to danger, uncertainty, or change -- evolved to help us survive, and if we learn how to keep it from overrunning our lives, it still can, Carmichael reports in the cover story, which is an installment of Newsweek's continuing "Health for Life" series with Harvard Medical School. In the short term, it can energize us, "revving up our systems to handle what we have to handle," says Judith Orloff, a psychiatrist at UCLA. In the long term, stress can motivate us to do better at jobs we care about. A little of it can prepare us for a lot late
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SOURCE Newsweek
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