Did you know that acute stress and negative emotions can be good for you? Yes, you read that right.

We generally flinch at the sheer mention of stress – gasping at the thought of the frightful concepts we associate with it: high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety and depression…it’s frightful indeed. 

Yet, these are consequences of chronic stress, the type that won’t ease up.

Stress, like a gallant knight, is supposed to whisk you off your feet, save your life, then quietly retreat until needed again. 

Think of gazelles grazing peacefully in the Savanna – then suddenly spotting a lioness and fleeing for their lives. Once the danger is gone, they return to their meals, as if nothing ever happened; this is acute stress. 

Acute Stress

Acute stress is important for the body and the mind. It triggers the production of stem cells, creates new connections in the brain, and promotes neuroplasticity

It also keeps you on your toes while you’re giving that presentation at the meeting. It’s the reason why, in the flow of it, you can think with sharp clarity. 

And once that meeting is over, you fall right back into a more relaxed state of mind – perfectly channelling your inner grazing gazelle.

We are scared of anger, anxiety, fear and yet, much like anything else, ‘negative emotions’ are ultimately what we make of them. 

The Choice is Ours

Consider this: one in five people living through trauma will develop PTSD, a severe anxiety disorder which will heavily affect that individual’s life.

 Now flip that statistic around – the other four people will endure the trigger event and the resulting shock, and move on with their lives, relatively unscathed. Why is that? How do they do it?

The variable seems to be where we put our attention. Focus on what happened, and moving on will prove difficult. But if you focus on what you can control, you can keep on moving, one step at a time, gradually navigating your way out of the worst consequences.

Connected to that, another interesting observation is that most of us, when looking back at adversity in our past, can see growth. 

We can list ways in which the hardship made us stronger, wiser, more compassionate, better people. Or even how it all worked out just perfectly in the end.

The point here is that we have more choice than we think. Claim your choice to focus your attention and energy carefully, selecting helpful, more resourceful meanings for your experience.

Be as wise as a gazelle.

Try this free healing stream visualization to alleviate your stress and anxiety.

This article is by our good friend Alexandra Cingi.

View some of her exercises here on Insight Timer, or visit her website for more.