According to researchers at Stanford University in the USA, short bursts of stress can be good for your health, warding off infection, helping wounds to heal and speeding up recovery from illness.
However, a little bit of stress can make you healthier, and make life more fun.
Tough guys who feel no stress may live shorter lives.
At Stamford University in 2009, there was a study of 57 patients who were due to undergo knee surgery.
Several days before the operation, researchers counted the number of immune cells in each patient's system.
Then, on the morning of the operation, they counted again.
The researchers identified which patients had the biggest increase in immune system cells as a result of being a bit stressed about the surgery.
For the next year, the patients were studied, to check the speed of their recovery.
The results showed that those who were relatively more stressed, on the day of surgery, recovered more quickly, had less pain, better knee function and greater mobility than those with the weaker stress response.
In their latest research, the Stanford team has worked out how stress helps the immune system.
The researchers, using rats, monitored three hormones released when the brain feels the body is under threat.
They found that when the rats were stressed, the brain immediately ordered the release of each hormone.
According to Professor Firdaus Dhabhar, who led the research: "Mother Nature gave us the fight-or-flight response to help us, not kill us."
A little of the 'negative' can make life fun.
It should be noted that extreme stress is not good; and long periods of stress are not good.
"But the evidence does suggest that putting oneself under short-term stress during procedures like vaccination or surgery can boost immune defences.
"The key is that the stress really has to be short-term, lasting only for minutes or hours.
"It involves a rapid activation of the biological stress response followed by a rapid shutdown soon after the challenge is over."
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