By Adrienne Bankert, CBS 11 News, CBSDFW.COM

PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – Forbes Magazine published a study of the most stressed out metropolitan areas in America. Out of 40 areas, Dallas/Fort Worth came in 7th Place.  That’s in part because of traffic congestion and longer than average commute times.  But if you think stress is always bad for you , Doctors say you’re going down wrong road.

“It keeps us sharp,” said Dr. Jay Ashmore, a clinical psychologist with Baylor Health Care in Plano.  Dr. Ashmore says stress can have a positive impact when it motivates a person to get something done.

“It’s really that anxiety or stress that gives us the push to get it done, especially if it’s not the most pleasant type of activity.”

Just think about Olympic athletes, they get one chance to go for the gold, and that’s when stress can be very beneficial

“Without feeling somewhat anxious before competition you’re not going to be as focused, you’re going to be laid back and you’re not going to be as effective.”

Dr. Ashmore says in order to visualize an optimal level of stress, we should imagine say we should imagine an upside down “U.”  On one side, there’s almost no stress, where we don’t feel the need to get anything done.  On the other side, there’s so much stress we feel out of control.  Then, there’s the middle of the “U” which has just enough stress to give us a push when we need it.

When someone is constantly living with high stress it can cause fatigue, lead to unhealthy eating habits and even promote high blood pressure.  But there are a number of relaxation techniques that patients can employee.  Some are as simple as taking deep controlled breaths.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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