Stress can encourage good habits too
Believe it or not, there actually may be some benefits of feeling stress. A new study from the University of Southern California has found that stress can encourage people to stick to good habits, such as eating well and exercising. When people were stressed and tired, they were more likely to stick with positive habits than to self-destruct.
The researchers used five experiments to investigate the effects of stress and tiredness on the body, and their findings ran counter to the notion that stress tends to lead to hedonism or indulgence. While overeating, smoking and spending sprees are often associated with stress reduction, this study found that people who were under stress or who were tired fell back on existing habits, including the good ones. In a study of students facing stressful final exams, for instance, the subjects did not have enough energy to do something that they were not used to. Those who regularly went to the gym were more likely to go and exercise when stressed.
These findings, combined with a previous study that showed that exercise may help people deal with anxiety and stress, could be turned into useful advice for people undergoing stressful times. As the authors of the study note, habits persist beyond self-control – so make sure you have good habits in place.