Why everyday stress could be the key to a healthy old age

David Cox

what if I told you that stress can also be positive? That just as it can harm us, it also plays a key role in strengthening our immune system, forging connections in our brain that improve mental performance and building the resilience we need to navigate our way through the vagaries of life.

This first came to light through the work of an American psychiatrist called Firdaus Dhabhar, then a researcher at the Rockefeller University, New York, who was studying the connection between short-term stress and the immune system as part of the fight-or-flight response. In the mid-1990s, stress was viewed as almost unanimously bad for us, but to Dhabhar this was illogical. From a Darwinian perspective, the survival instincts of our animal ancestors would have been honed through repeated brushes with danger….