Can Small Bursts of Stress Help You Live Longer?

If your doctor were to write out a list of the top 10 things to minimize in order to live a long, healthy life, stress would most definitely be at the top. Study after study has shown that excessive stress can literally kill you. (Not to be dramatic or anything.)

While those studies are legit, the truth is a bit more nuanced than just issuing a blanket statement that stress is always bad. Many scientific studies show that small bursts of stress can actually help you live longer, a process called hormesis. Intrigued? Keep reading to learn more about what hormesis is and how to apply just the right amount of physical stress to your life to reap the benefits.

The term hormesis was coined in the 1940s, and is often used in the context of toxicology (aka the study of how harmful chemicals and substances can impact people, animals, and the environment). In this context, it is defined as “a phenomenon in which a harmful substance gives stimulating and beneficial effects to living organisms when the quantity of the harmful substance is small.” Basically, if an otherwise-toxic substance can be beneficial to the body in very small amounts, it is considered to be hormetic.

Excerpted from Well + Good

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