Given the opportunity, plenty of people would probably opt to eliminate stress entirely from their lives. Fascinating new findings from the University of Georgia, however, indicate that a little bit of stress can actually be very beneficial to both body and brain.

When we’re stressed, we’re usually forced to deal with unpredictable or tense situations that can rankle our bodies physically. While these scenarios are almost never fun in the moment, they serve to push us out of our comfort zones — and that can be a good thing for the mind. Researchers say that low to moderate levels of stress appear to promote improved working memory.

Working memory refers to short-term information people use to complete everyday tasks. Examples include recalling someone’s phone number, or remembering directions while driving. Not surprisingly, study authors stress that these benefits are limited to moderate stress. Once stress levels reach high levels, it can be detrimental to one’s health. “The bad outcomes of stress are pretty clear and not new,” says lead study author Assaf Oshri, an associate professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, in a university release.

Constantly feeling super stressed out can actually change the very structure of one’s brain. When we’re very stressed on a regular basis, it causes an increase in white matter at the expense of gray matter. Gray matter is essential, and involved in muscle control, decision-making, self-control, emotional regulation, and more.... Read More: Study Finds