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A healthy dose of stress might actually be  good thing for us.  Who knew?  All this time we’ve been moving mountains to keep stress at bay and out of our daily lives.  Lose a job?  Do anything but stress over it.  Last semester of law school?  Just try not to stress over it, right?  Not so fast.  It just might be that a little stress can be a good thing and according to one report, stress might actually serve a healthy purpose – even when you’re job hunting, facing layoffs or just balanced your check book.  A. Harrison Barnes, a leading career coach and founder of Hound.com,  says inspiration can actually be found when you’re under the gun.  It’s the adrenaline, he says and for many of us, that’s when we’re best able to pull off those overwhelming tasks and come out shining because of it.

There’s scientific research that backs this up, too.  All of those chemicals our brains release when we’re feeling pressured can actually give our immune systems a boost in the process.  Ever notice how you tend to get sick right after coming through an especially trying time, such as changing careers, surviving a brutal interview or surviving final exams?  Those bursts of hormones that pulled you through those exhausting days have now powered down and thereby leaving you a bit vulnerable for that head cold that’s making the rounds.

Many of us realize we’re far better equipped to make clear decisions when the pressure’s on.  One reason is that our instincts are sharper, courtesy of those hormones, which A. Harrison Barnes says is always a good thing when you’re preparing for an interview or getting ready for that first day at a new job.  You might feel more alert and energized, too, says the Hound.com founder.  He’s quick to point out, however, that it can be a fine line between a healthy bit of anticipation and that exhausting stress that serves no purpose but to add dark circles under your eyes.

It’s important to de-stress after a long day.  Days of what feel like endless interviews, countless final exams that you’re sure will never end or settling into a new career can really take a toll on anyone.  This is when stress can have an opposite effect and can have unhealthy physical and mental consequences.  Unfortunately, those consequences can lead to depression, anxiety or worse.  It is important to get help if you discover that stress you’ve been feeling is only making things worse.

So next time you’re gearing up for a job interview for your dream position, allow the natural stress you’re feeling to work to your advantage. Remember, though, it might be difficult to find that happy medium.  Follow your instincts, don’t forget to breathe and keep it in perspective.  The sooner you learn to control that unhealthy level of stress, the sooner it stops controlling you.

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