Short-term, low-intensity pressure gives your system a jump and could even prolong your life, said new research from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, as reported by Women’s Health.

Here’s how it works: A recent Ohio State University study showed that when mice experienced brief bursts of intense stress, they were better able to fight the flu. In a number of human studies, findings also linked extreme, short-term stress to a reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Some scientists even said that mild periods of stress could actually help increase longevity. If mild pressure makes people recover faster, “it stands to reason that it would slow down aging,” said Edward Masoro, PhD, a professor emeritus at the University of Texas in the physiology department.

It’s important to note the difference kinds of stress. “There are good and bad types of stress,” said Edward Calabrese, PhD, a toxicologist at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. “The bad kind is chronic and uncontrollable, like the tension caused by an unhappy marriage or a sick relative.”

But the good kind of stress, Calabrese said, is short-term, not chronic and somewhat controlled, such as being caught in a traffic jam, having to speak in public or, perhaps, rushing around to get all those presents for friends and family during the holiday season.

Learn how to beat on-the-job stress here.