Stress can leave you feeling muddled, exasperated, and lost.
But a surprising new study has found stress does provide clarity in some situations: it makes people better at processing bad news.
Neuroscientists at University College London studied firefighters in Colorado day-to-day, from washing trucks and cooking meals, to responding to an emergency.
They asked them to estimate their risks of experiencing various traumatic life events, such as a car accident or fraud, then gave them good news or bad news – either that their risk was lower or higher than they had guessed.
In times of rest, the firefighters were overly optimistic about their odds, and were less attentive to the details of the new information.