Mumbai: Experts agree that stress is unavoidable considering the hectic current lifestyle, but they explain why stress can sometimes be good for you.

It's 2 pm. The deadline for the project is an hour away and you are stressed. Don't panic. Experts say this good stress that will help improve and hasten your performance.

Stress may work for you the same way it did for Sourav Ganguly in his comeback match against Deccan Chargers in IPL 4. One of the most successful captains of the Indian cricket team, the 38-year-old Ganguly, was reportedly nervous and stressed before his match as a Pune Warrior. However, the pressure seemed to have helped Ganguly as he scored a run-a-ball 32 for his team and shushed critics.

Experts say that it is not always bad for health. Here's why sometimes a little stress is good for health.

What is good stress?

Vijay Surase, Interventional Cardiologist describes good stress as the challenge to performsomething within limited, as is it makes an individual alert, thus bringing out the best in him or her. "When it comes to performing your best, chemical levels rise and the coordination between local and joint muscle movements in the body improves. This is good stress as you know you will be rewarded and appreciated at the end of it."

Seema Hingorrany, clinical psychologist and traumatologist explains that so-called 'good' stress or what psychologists refer to as 'eustress' is created when we are excited. "Have you ever been able to extract a little more energy to complete your task even when you felt completely drained out? This is a result of good stress.

These are situations where people manage to do things that they never thought they could before, such as under life-threatening circumstances. Good stress, or positive stress, can help us overcome obstacles in our everyday life," she says.

She explains that when the brain perceives physical or psychological stress, it starts pumping chemicals like cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine into the body. As a result, the heart beats faster, blood pressure increases, senses sharpen, a rise in blood glucose invigorates and it helps us to react and act better.

"There is no threat or fear. We feel this type of stress when we ride a roller coaster or go on a first date. There are many triggers for this and it keeps us feeling alive and excited about life," says Hingorrany clarifying that good stress is not gender dependant.

Married or not?

However, drawing reference from a study, which was published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, she reveals that a survey on 105 middle-aged married adults  67 men and 38 women show that marital status plays a role in creating good or bad stress. It showed that people in bad marriages take stress to work and thereby increase the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and other chronic complaints stemming from stress.

Surase says that good stress helps you feel good, while bad stress leads to depression and weakens you both mentally and physically. Bad stress may lead to depression, diabetes, hair loss, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, obesity and other problems. "Good stress results from situations we can control and bad stress results from situations over which we have no control. There is a thin line between the two and it depends on the situation," says Dr Surase.

What to do?

However, both experts agree that bad stress can be reduced and good stress can be induced by following simple steps like following your conscience, practicing yoga, healthy eating habits, spending time with family, getting a pet and other activities that calm your nerves.

It's all good?

Experts recommend five quick questions that you can ask yourself to check whether what you are experiencing is 'good' stress.

1. When you get angry, are you able to express yourself clearly?
2. Do you make time to play an outdoor sport that gives you an adrenaline rush?
3. Do you slot quality time to spend with your loved ones?
4. Do you make time for an annual holiday?
5. Do you get a good night's rest?
If you answered 'yes' to all questions, then you are less likely to be experiencing high levels of 'bad' stress.

(Agencies)