For most of us, just the word, conjures up a negative response. Afterall, isn’t stress responsible for everything from lack of focus, poor sleep, unexpected outbursts, to acne. It’s the default word for almost anything bad happening in your life. But what about good stress? Is there such a thing?

Technically “stress” is anything that pulls your body out of homeostasis. In other words, according to the oxford dictionary, “a characteristic of a system that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, common, relatively constant condition of properties.”

The balance between external stimulus and your internal state dictate whether a stimulus becomes a stressor. External stimulus such as interpersonal conflict, chemical, mechanical, thermal, and radiation can all pull the body out of homeostasis because they create a measurable response in our physiology that is paired with an undesirable emotional or physical response commonly referred to as “stress”.

However, it is stressors that lower a function temporarily causing the body to respond in one of two ways. It will either adapt to a higher level of function or not. If the body is not adaptive then stress becomes a negative state and you become aware of it.

Rehabilitation is a form of exercise and exercise is a form of controlled stress. The choice, duration, intensity, and frequency are chosen along with the avoidance of other stimulus that may interfere with the ability to adapt to the higher level of function.

Brain repair requires stressors to adapt to a higher level of function in order to repair. One type of exercise for concussion rehabilitation is oculomotor exercises. As the brain cells begin to produce more energy, the energy is directed to the demands of the exercise allowing the neuropathways to regain full function. If the appropriate exercise is not implemented, the tissue will heal but you will have adapted to a lower level of function.