How stress can be good for your career

People on an escalator

People working in competitive functions have such busy and hectic lifestyles that stress has become an inevitable part of our daily lives, especially for high achievers.

Everyone will experience different levels of personal and work related stress, some probably more than others. While too much stress could be detrimental to emotional, mental and physical health or even hinder your work, small amounts of stress could actually help you to concentrate better and motivate you to achieve your goals.

The key to benefit from stress lies in how you respond to it. Here are 4 reasons why healthy stress levels can be good for your career.

1. Stress is a motivator

It may be hard to believe, but the initial stress reaction comes about as a positive, beneficial response, and can be vital for our lives. For example, when we face danger or a highly challenging situation, our body produces adrenalin, making us more alert and ready to react or respond quickly.

In the workplace, when faced with an unexpected or looming deadline, stress motivates you to get your work done. It also sharpens your senses and gives you that sharp burst of energy and sense of urgency to complete your task. When you need to perform well, a little stress can give you the push you need to do your best.

2. Stress improves work efficiency

Highly successful people often use stress positively to bring about change and activity. 

The short buzz of energy released by stress can also help to improve work productivity and efficiency. Without stress, people tend to take the easy way out and procrastinate work until the last minute. Small doses of stress can help to keep you on your toes and spur you to perform tasks more efficiently.

When stress hits, the resulting instant energy boost makes the entire body go on full alert, and it becomes highly productive and focused. You think faster and with more clarity. Sometimes, this kind of intense adrenaline rush can numb your pain receptors to a point where it allows you to perform “superhuman” feats – such as working round-the-clock for days or accomplishing a complicated project that require weeks to complete within a single day.

3. Stress breeds success

In an extremely competitive work environment, a little anxiety is actually good, and even necessary for you. Highly successful people often use stress positively to bring about change and activity. They are anxious about today and the future; they stress about the thought of losing and they worry about not having enough hours in a day to get everything done. 

This form of “self-induced” stress amazingly injects life and autonomy into these people and propels them to reach for greater heights. They allow good stress to take over and fuel their ambition and passion for their job. Such people are often more outstanding in terms of performance compared to their peers or colleagues, as they are able to internalise stress and convert it into positive energy to develop creative solutions to their problems or attain their career goals.

4. Stress is healthy

Many medical studies have shown that our immune system may benefit from short spurts of stress. The chemicals in the body released during stress can in fact help strengthen the immune system and protect it against diseases by keeping the brain cells working at peak capacity. Cultivating a positive attitude towards stress is crucial to help eliminate any negativity resulting from stress and frees you up to focus on the solution rather than the problem.


Stress is a normal, healthy part of life. The small doses of daily stress we receive act as an invisible supervisor, constantly keeping a tab on us to make sure we are up to speed with our work and that we do our best in a challenging or difficult situation. It stimulates and energises your mind and helps to improve and enhance your performance and efficiency. Every new, unexpected or unusual situation almost always causes stress to some degree. The most important thing to remember is to not let it control you or your life and to make it work for you rather than against you.

Remember to maintain a healthy work/life balance 

Increasing workloads and demands however make it difficult to not let stress get the best of you. Read our advice on how to achieve a healthy work/life balance.


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