💜 Why We Should Love Stress


Happy Sunday!

As I was thinking about what to write this week for Sunday Morning Rounds, a thought popped into my head.

I talk about stress a lot.😅

Whether it's navigating medical school🩺, applying for residency📝, or actually starting a career as a physician🏥, whenever I'm sharing tips it isn't long before I start talking about how difficult and stressful the process can be🙃.

And while I'm not wrong, that's only half the story.

Stress often gets a bad rap, but it can also be a formative and positive force🌟. That's essentially the definition of eustress, or what Merriam-Webster defines as "a positive form of stress having a beneficial effect on health, motivation, performance, and emotional well-being."👍🏿

Eustress is the inverse of distress, which has the exact opposite effect: It can be de-motivating, exhausting, and leaves us worse off ❌. For a better idea of how eustress compares to distress, check out the graph below ⬇️

In a high-impact job like healthcare, eustress can be a powerful tool🔨. It heightens our senses, increases our focus, and can improve performance💪🏽.

I have often seen eustress in medical students and residents who are excited but nervous when it comes to approaching complex patients or doing new procedures😬. And I'll share what I tell all of them:

That's a good thing! It means that you care, and by caring you'll work more carefully but intentionally and rise to meet the challenge📈.

Perhaps the most important aspect of eustress is that it doesn't last. Prolonged eustress, like any type of stress, can eventually take a toll on performance as well as mental health🙅🏻‍♀️.

But by reframing our views of the eustress we face in medicine and in our daily lives, we can learn to value it and use it to unlock a greater potential.🔓

📗 Speaking of potential: Hidden Potential by Adam Grant is a fantastic read that dives into the interesting ways that we can all grow, make progress on goals, and achieve our full potential.

2️⃣ Step 2 CK High Yield Facts: I recently released part 2 of my new USMLE Step 2 CK High Yield Facts video series for randomized, rapid review leading up to test day. Be sure to check it out!

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